Remember Compagnie Carabosse's Installation de feu at La Villette? This winter, head to Lens-Liévin, 1 hour from Paris by train, for the Sainte-Barbe festival!
La Sainte-Barbe, a festival of arts and fire!
In the Hauts-de-France region of France, the mining industry celebrates Sainte-Barbe every December 4, the patron saint of firefighters, pyrotechnicians and miners who have to contend with the dangers of fire and explosions. For a number of years now, Lens-Liévin has been ablaze with fire installations and night-time performances, as well as highlighting some of the key sites in the land of the black pyramids, the Bassin Minier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fire shows and installations by internationally renowned companies
As every year, the Sainte Barbe festival invites leading companies in the art of pyrotechnics, fire shows and installations.
Headliners for this 2023 edition include La Machine, with a brand-new creation, Transe Express, and Les Tambours du Bronx.
Every evening, as night falls, the site lights up with a variety of atmospheres, some poetic, some apocalyptic, but always spectacular: a garden of fire where you can wander around, a wheel of death 8.50m high ablaze with fireworks, a fiery concert or a stage that literally bursts into flames!
And it's all free : enough to make the eyes of young and old sparkle!
Historical sites in the spotlight
The Sainte Barbe festival takes place at several sites symbolic of mining history in Lens, Liévin, Loos-en-Gohelle and Oignies.
For the opening of the festival, the gardens of the Jean Perrin Faculty of Science are set ablaze, with the impressive façade of the former Grands Bureaux de la Société des Mines de Lens as a backdrop: here, in days gone by, the entire organization of mining in Lens was governed.
In the gardens, metal flowers are set alight to warm hearts and create alcoves conducive to daydreaming... The evening is punctuated by two explosive shows: the Pyroue infernale for a performance as powerful as it is poetic, and the fire concert by the Tambours from the Transe Expresse company, which has already performed in 72 countries worldwide!
Two emblematic former mining sites are decked out in fire: the 11/19 base in Loos-en-Gohelle and 9-9bis in Oignies, two places where miners went down to the bottom, are revealed in the glow of the Saint Barbara flame.
The Doedel and Titanos companies literally set fire to the 11/19 site in a wild, monumental scenography, while at 9-9bis, the La Machine - Pierre de Mecquenem company combines fire installations and pyrotechnics to highlight the industrial architecture of the last pithead to close in 1990.
A visit to Liévin for an evening combining tradition and modernity: surrounded by former miners, the Gueules Noires, who watch over her as she watched over them, the statue of Sainte Barbe makes its way through the streets of the town to the Saint-Amé district. In the church, the Souffleurs Commandos Poétiques whisper stories, memories and anecdotes collected from local residents.
This 6th edition of the Sainte Barbe festival is set to close with a bang, featuring some exceptional guests: after having played all over the world, including under the Eiffel Tower in 1995, the Tambours du Bronx will perform at the foot of the headframe for a free hour-long show.
As Sainte Barbe is also the patron saint of fireworks, the festival ends with a unique pyrotechnic show: Lux Factory fires off a firework display from the Saint-Amé headframe, which is then set ablaze by the Tambours du Bronx finale, in a supercharged atmosphere!
A weekend in Lens-Liévin for the Sainte Barbe festival
Beyond the shows, the festival is also an opportunity to discover the historical and cultural treasures of Lens-Liévin: visit the Louvre-Lens and its "Fantastic Animals" exhibition, climb a slag heap in the Bassin Minier, discover a mining town and the Art Deco city center of Lens...
On the 1st weekend of December, come and discover a heritage rich in emotion. Three evenings, a weekend of fire, free spectacular performances, all in a historic and aesthetically unique setting... go for it!
This sponsored page is not written by the SORTIRAPARIS editorial staff.
Dates and Opening Time
From December 1st, 2023 to December 3rd, 2023
17 Place Jean Jaurès