Paris spreads the Louvre

In its heyday in the 19th and 20th centuries, the industrial town of Lens in northern France sent its wealth to Paris in the form of coal. Now, with Lens's mines gone and its economy in decline, Paris is returning the favor by sending Lens masterpieces from the Louvre—and with them, a large chunk of the museum's global brand.

On Tuesday, when French President François Hollande arrives to inaugurate the Louvre-Lens, the first satellite of the Paris original, he will find hundreds of the Louvre's most important works waiting for him. Among them: Leonardo da Vinci's "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne" (around 1508); Raphael's portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (1514-15); and Eugène Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" (1830), revered as a symbol of the French nation.

The $194 million project opens to the public Dec. 12....

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