Erstwhile fresh market
Les Halles, with a documented history that dates back to the 10th century, was known as the ‘belly of Paris’ because it was the city’s largest fresh market. Over the centuries, the region grew to include the Church of Saint Eustache and other historic monuments. This also resulted in traffic congestion that mandated that the market be moved.
Modern Les Halles is a potpourri of grand monuments, futuristic transportation hubs and an underground shopping mall that boasts a 30-cinema multiplex, an indoor swimming pool besides several restaurants and boutiques. There are also aesthetically laid-out gardens with pedestrian paths, a museum for modern art called Centre Pompidou and a still-under-construction ‘Canopy’ that is reminiscent of the glass-and-iron architecture designed by Victor Baltard for Les Halles in the 1830s.
Les Halles continues to be renovated and remodeled, a process that is expected to finish in 2018. However, don’t let that stop you – there’s a lot to see and experience here.