In the past century, Léon Panckoucke, a great traveler, had not been away for some time. The family business was doing well and he was striking a pose on a chair in the yard where trucks came to load drinks for delivery to customers. He looked from afar at the slag heaps of Loos-en-Gohelle, admiring how the man could manhandle the landscape. He noted this in one of his notebooks. The blackness of the stones and the sulfurous smell they gave off. It is this black mineral, coal, that has supported thousands of families in the mining area. Dark stones that warmed homes and brought comfort.