Les Halles de Paris : the legendary Parisian Food Market


First period  : “the Belly of Paris”*

  • Les Halles (The Halls) was the wholesale fresh food market of Paris, until 1969. It was known  as the “Belly of Paris”.  This food market dated back as far as the 12th century. 
  • These famous glass and iron buildings were designed  by architect Victor Baltard (1805-1874) in the 1850s  . 



Second period : the “hole of Les Halles”

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    “Le trou des Halles” (= “The hole of les Halls”) as it was called.

    End of “Les Halles le 27 février 1969. It was demolished in 1971 and left a hole for several years. 

  • The cast iron structures of the old Halls were demolished and an enormous hole was dug to construct what would become the central hub of the Future RER (Paris ‘s new urban railway hub) transportation system/ .
  • A decision was made to relocate the wholesale market to the suburb of Rungis , in the outskits of Paris. Rungis is now the largest wholesale food market in the world.
  • Two of the glass and cast iron market pavilions designed by Victor Baltard were dismantled and re-erected elsewhere; one in the Paris suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne, the other in Yokohama (Japan).


Third period : “Le Forum des Halles”

quartier-des-hallesLe Forum des Halles was a multiple story commercial and shopping centre, opened in 1979. It was the most frequented shopping mail in the Paris area and the second most visited shopping mall in France.  There was a public garden too,  covering 4 hectares opened in 1986 and many of the surrounding streets were pedestrianized.

The Forum des Halles was largely underground and directly connected to the RER and metro of Chatelet Les Halles. ——————————————————————-



The canopy by architect Patrick Berger

Fourth period : The canopy


The demolition of the previous building began around 2000. A canopy, a steel structure with a leaf-like roof has been built.

Here is a 1.3 minute video I shot today (the 5th of May – 2016) to let you discover the new Halles, the “Canopy of les Halles” :


It’s an “umbrella” made of 7000 tonnes of steel and 18000 pieces of glass. It covers a new shopping center. It alignes Les Halles with both the Pompidou Centre and the Palais-Royal. The new center opened last month (in April 2016). The new Forum des Halles is expected to welcome 37 million visitors each year

More photos (slideshow) :



Up to 1969 : the famous glass and iron buildings by architect Victor Baltard (1805-1874) 

belly-of-paris ZOLA*«Le ventre de Paris” (1873) (“The Belly of Paris”) is the third novel in Emile Zola’s twenty-volume series “Les Rougon-Macquart”. It is set in and around “Les Halles”, It is Zola ‘s first novel entirely on the working class.












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