Take a step aside or take the high road, it is often necessary to have a different view of what surrounds us. In Frameries, at the top of the slag heap of the Crachet,the history of the Borinage and its amazing conversion are revealed under an unexpected light.
When the mines closed one after the other in the Borinage, the public authorities long wondered what to do with the collieries and slag heaps they were facing. At Frameries, it was out of the question to see these historic testimonies disappear. In 2000, the former Colliery of Crachet Piquery turned into the Scientific and Community Adventure Park (PASS). Today, everybody knows the PASS. Discover sciences and their applications in our daily lives in a particularly fun way. In one day, you can indulge with your family (even with the little ones) in multiple experiences.
An amazing conversion
A wheel chassis converted into a belvedere, a footbridge of 200 metres long... If you've never been to the PASS, you will be undoubtedly surprised by the place. Rehabilitated by Jean Nouvel, it is not just a museum. Over 28 hectares, it is a whole complex designed by the famous French architect.
Like a Giza pyramid, the slag heap of the Crachet proudly overlooks it. As you begin your ascent, you touch the work of thousands of men who, for years, descended into the pit to bring up black gold in often appalling conditions. Think about it as you walk on the ground of this shale mountain. Without human intervention, all this would not exist.
Nature is Queen
Today, nature has taken its revenge and this is expressed in the most beautiful way possible. No more miners (gueules noires). On the slag heap, the mines rejoice. From the car park a path takes the walkers to the heights of the mound. Along the way you will discover very ancient rocks and observe the lightning fast evolution of nature. Although the forest dominates, from time to time we see other beautiful areas opened up by grass fallow and a few ponds! On the Crachet, there are no less than 8 species of amphibians. As for the flora, open your eyes wide to identify the oval twayblade, the tuberous pea or nodding thistle, a thorny beauty with pink-purple flowers!
A breathtaking view
At the top the view is stunning to anyone who has ever set foot on a slag heap. The soil goes from black to red and smokes in some places. No, you are not dreaming. The slag heap is still combusting more than 50 years after the closure of the operation.
From up there, the view of the Park can leave you breathless. You will feel very small. Small in front of nature. Small in front of the architectural unit designed by Jean Nouvel. But above all small in front of the history you face. Try to travel a century back in time and to imagine the hustle and bustle, the thudding noise and greyish smoke rising up here. Try to imagine the life of the miners even for a moment. Then the breath of oxygen that you take before going down will never have appeared that precious to you before.