Beaubourg and Les Halles
Located in the 1st district of Paris, Les Halles was traditionally the place where normal Parisians did their shopping at the open marketplace in the area. Since the Middle Ages, Les Halles provided products to nourish and satisfy the inhabitants of the city. The marketplace was renovated in 1183 by King Philippe II in order to add more space for stands as well as living quarters for the merchants who traveled long distances to share their wares.
A grain exchange was added in the mid-1700s, and in the late 1800s the central courtyard of the grain exchange was transformed into a ‘bourse de commerce’ where various commodities such as coffee, sugar and cacao were sold. Although this commercial activity ceased in 1998, Les Halles is still a bustling place thanks to a large shopping center called Le Forum des Halles, filled with clothing, housewares and entertainment stores. Les Halles re opened with a new architecture in 2016.
Close by, in the neighboring 4th district, visitors will also find the hip Beaubourg area which houses, among other things, Paris’s most impressive museum of modern art, the Centre Pompidou. With an exterior composed of interlacing colored tubes, the Centre Pompidou is instantly recognizable as a unique site in the center of the city.
Having welcomed more than 150 million visitors since its opening in 1977, this museum is a popular spot for both fans of modern art and those who are simply curious. Just outside the museum, a number of eclectic shops, cafés, bars and restaurants will keep museum-goers fed and entertained well into the night.
How to get there
Walking distance from the Grand hotel du Palais Royal or two metro stations.