Les Halles was once the great produce market of Paris, a thriving early morning cacophony of noises, smells and sights that supplied this grand city with vegetables, meats and fruit. As well documented in print and in the photography found in the great Robert Doisneau’s book on the same subject, the stalls and life that surrounded it were redeveloped into a soulless mall in the 1960’s. Over the past few years the City has tried it’s best to correct these mistakes with yet another redevelopment of the mall and the jury is still out on the last efforts. So instead of mourning the past, this short walk focuses on elements of the old neighborhood that remain.
The walk starts at metro Etienne Marcel. On exiting head towards Les Halles down Rue Turbigo. In two blocks you will reach the entry of one of the largest gothic churches in Paris, Saint Eustache. Take time to walk through the church to view its imposing structure, massive organ, stained glass and the sculptures that honor the prior habitants of the area pictured above.
On exiting the church turn left unto Rue Montmartre, the right onto Rue Du Jour and then left onto rue Coquilliere.
Need a soup pot to boil your enemies in? I think this one would fit some of my smaller ones.
The shop is full of copper goodies and yes, they ship outside of France.
From gigantic ricers to scales it is all there.
If you time it right, you it might just be time for lunch or an early dinner. Here are some options:
Continuing on Rue Coquillere at number 6 you will find one of the most beautiful brasseries in Paris, Au Pied de Cochon.
Even if you aren’t hungry go in for a drink sit at the bar and enjoy the interior deco driven furnishings.
And if you do go to eat let me know how the pied du cochon, the pig’s foot, tasted. I didn’t have the stomach for it. The brasserie is known for being the first place where Julia Child enjoyed sole meunier, and you should stick to the classics. Have some oysters and wash it down with a cold glass of dry Muscadet as you watch workers at the French Stock exchange, the bourse, which is located just blocks away enjoy theirs.
You can finish your walk on one of my favorite streets in Paris, Rue Montorgueil or head towards the Seine via Rue Du Louvre.
And if you are really lucky, you are finishing the afternoon with a drink at Frenchie Wine Bar on Rue Du Nil. It’s a hassle to get in but awfully good. Reservations are hard to find so go at off hours.
Enjoy this vision of the past (well except for Frenchie at least) tucked in the modern changing city that is Paris.
2 Impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001 Paris, France
+33 1 42 36 31 05