Neighbourhood Notes: Les Halles – now and then

 

P1090026For the last 4 to 5 years the Les Halles shopping and transport hub in the centre of the city has been under re-construction. Stage by stage it’s now being finished and unveiled. There is still work to do on the park and gardens that form part of the project but already Parisians can marvel at the promised architectural masterpiece, La Canopée, and shop til they drop, even on Sundays, in the expanded retail space. The glass canopy swoops low over the cafés and retail stores and lifts up with a dramatic swoosh on the outer edges.P1090028

This part of town has throbbed with people and market activity for hundreds of years…..Les Halles history3

………and for hundreds of years St Eustache presided over all the comings and goings.

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From the other side of the temporary work site wall, it still does. It’s dirty, worn Gothic exterior a solid, comforting and yet somehow thrilling presence that reminds us we are in the very neighbourhood whose stories fill history texts and best-selling novels.

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In this neighbourhood you can sip different time periods while you sip refreshments. From the modern cafés under the 21st century canopy, stroll a few steps along rue Montmartre to number 15, Le Cochon a L’Oreille to immerse yourself in 1903.

P1090051Here the decorative style is Art Nouveau. Wonderful ceramic wall tiles that were installed in 1903 depict scenes of market life.

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More details about the Les Halles project here and here.

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