Les Halles is a lively and modern area of the French capital, full of life and very popular with young people. Originally, since the twelfth century, the area housed the general markets. Subsequently the markets were enlarged by Napoleon III between 1852 and 1870 and finally demolished in 1971. Subsequently, a modern underground shopping center, the Forum des Halles, was built on the area, which in addition to the shops houses 23 cinemas, a swimming pool , a 4-hectare garden, and is rich in sculptures, fountains and mosaics.
Below the shopping center is the largest underground station in Europe, and one of the main hubs of the Paris metro network. Châtelet-Les-Halles station, which is the central hub of the Paris urban rail system (RER).
Next to the Forum des Halles there is the Pavillon des Arts which hosts temporary exhibitions that range on all the themes of art, from painting, to sculpture, to photography, to costume etc. Near the Forum, next the intersection of Rue Pierre Lescot and Rue Berger, on Place Joachim du Bellay, there is an interesting Renaissance fountain (1549). La Fontaine des Innocents, work by Jean Goujon.
THE POMPIDOU CENTER
Not far from Les Halles, between this and the Marais district is the Beaubourg district. In this neighborhood there is the “Center national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou“. The building, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and the Englishman Richard Rogers, was built between 1971 and 1977. The structure houses a museum and a center for the visual arts of the twentieth century. The ground floor houses the Galleries Contemporaines, where works by contemporary artists are exhibited. The most important part of the building is represented by the Musée National d’Art Moderne, located on the third and fourth floors. This museum houses one of the largest collections of modern art in the world: the museum displays works by Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Maurice Utrillo, Vasily Kandinsky.
The fifth floor is occupied by the Grandes Galleries, intended for traveling exhibitions. The Center national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou also houses a public library. In the building there are also the Center creation industriels (industrial design center), the Institute for research and musical acoustic coordination with rooms and rehearsal studios and a concert hall. In addition there are also a film library and a cinema, some bookstores, restaurants and an Internet Café. Numerous street artists perform in the square in front of the entrance to the Center Georges-Pompidou, the Beaubourg fountain is also located here.
HOW TO GET THERE: To reach Les Halles and Center Georges-Pompidou you can use the metro stations of Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville and Châtelet – Les Halles.