Châtelet-les-Halles is located in the centre of Paris – the 1st arrondissement, and it’s pronounced (pretty close to) shot-lay-lay-all.
It’s one of the oldest parts of Paris, the “halles” part referring to a covered market. In 1137 Louis XII decided to build an open-air market in a place outside of the old walls of Paris, called Champeaux – a former swamp. The wooden structure to cover it was put up about 50 years later, and the area has not stopped growing and changing since.
I could keep translating more of the history of Les Halles, which I got here, but I had intended this to be a mostly picture post, and so it will remain.
I go to Les Halles for shopping.
Most of the chain stores, and more modern stores are below ground, just above the metro.
You’ve also got your French lingerie stores
and your Belgian chocolate stores.
Above ground is just as crowded, and has more of the individual boutiques
as well as tons of restaurants and cafés.
I like to go to Les Halles to get my pastry items.
This is just one of the shops in the area, where you can get tools to make pâtisserie
fondant, pastry bags and tips, baking molds . . .
bright copper kettles
and warm little Le Creuset pots.
Les Halles is currently under massive renovation, from 2012-2016.
I’m confident that it’s going to result in a gorgeous place
with parks outside and a cheerfully lit mall within.
For now, it remains a bit gloomy, especially on a rainy fall day.
This past weekend, we went as a family.
It is so exciting and out of the ordinary to take the train.
We went to the fountain, where we had arranged to meet others.
How the kids love fountains
because they can chase the pigeons.
We were there because a group from our church meets every week in some part of Paris to hand out sandwiches to people who have no home.
We can’t always go because I teach on Saturdays, but Gabriel told us it was the favorite thing he’s ever done. And Juliet remembered a homeless mother who was with her daughter the last time we were there, and she wanted to bring a euro of her own so that she could give it to the girl.
So when we had a Saturday with no teaching, no conservatoire, how could we resist?
Our friends came, despite the pouring rain, with a shopping cart full of food.
We all got our sandwiches, and started searching for people to whom we could we hand them out.
As you go down the escalators to enter Les Halles, you are reassured that the shopping will continue despite the construction.
And if you’re eyes are open
you’ll see that the needs do too.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I really didn’t want to go – especially when I saw the weather – but I knew it would be good and it was). 🙂