Les Halles: A History


Les Halles: The Busiest Place in Paris

Near the Hotel de Ville, near the Musée Carnavalet stands Les Halles, the consumer and transportation center of Paris. Les Halles is interesting because it is a product of the 70s' efforts to modernize Paris. And while I am personally not attracted to go spend hours there, it is the second most visited shopping mall of France and one the most important metro stations. I guess I couldn't get by this year without talking about Les Halles. So here is a bit of history and information on it.

From Old to New 

Les Halles has been around for centuries, dating back to before the 12th Century. It was the central market of Paris, selling food. Each century seemed to add another dimension to the location and buildings that were Les Halles. But by the 1970s, Les Halles was in need or repairs and was failing in the new economy. So it was taken down. And in its place was installed a mall and the main convergence point for the RER and the Metro.

Inside the Forum des Halles

Les Halles was converted to an underground shopping mall. The top is made a park with grass, but below are layers or stores and even a parking garage. There are about 160 stores in Les Halles. And while it is currently under construction to modernize it once again, the stores are still open for business.

Metro and RER

Driving around the Arc de Triomphe for my mom is like taking the metro through Les Halles for me. Way too many people zig zagging at high speeds in front of you. Les Halles is the most used metro station because it connects five metro lines and three RER lines. That's seven transit lines in one station. But for those who don't mind large crowds of people and being really really far underground, don't worry about this metro station.

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