The museum, an elegant contemporary building of glass and aluminium, surrounded by vast landscaped gardens, stands on a former mine yard. This "second Louvre" epitomizes the whole process of regeneration of the coal-mining basin, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a piece of architecture so graceful it seems light as a feather - a fine setting for the beautiful the collections in its two exhibition wings. The first, the Gallery of Time, is at a slight inclination, which creates an optical illusion for those walking in of a vast, luminous stage where 205 masterpieces, icons of all the mixed-up civilizations, stand together, frozen in time. The other wing holds temporary exhibitions of international scope. The museum also has a resource centre, a stock of holdings in the basement, and a venue for conferences, films and live performances.