Les Halles is an area of Paris, France, located in the 1er arrondissement, just south of the fashionable rue Montorgueil. It is named for the large central wholesale marketplace, which was demolished in 1971, to be replaced with an underground modern shopping precinct, the Forum des Halles.
It is notable in that the open air center area is below street level, like a pit, and contains sculpture, fountains, and mosaics, as well as museums including the Musée Grévin – Forum des Halles (a wax museum). Beneath this lies the underground station Châtelet-Les-Halles, a central hub of Paris’s express commuter rail system, the RER. Les Halles was the traditional central market of Paris. In 1183, King Philippe II Auguste enlarged the marketplace in Paris and built a shelter for the merchants, who came from all over to sell their wares. In the 1850s, the massive glass and iron buildings (Victor Baltard Architect) Les Halles became known for were constructed. Les Halles was known as the “stomach of Paris”.
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