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A farming village suddenly seized by industry. That's what happened to Denain. It was following a peaceful way of life when the discovery of coal deposits in 1828 suddenly made it an important industrial centre. The town had 15 mines; the last one, the Renard pit, was closed in 1948 but its earthworks still dominate the little city that Emile Zola chose to document it before writing Germinal.

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