In 1969, Paris’s ancient central market of Les Halles, having grown enormously, and congested to boot, moved to Rungis, just on the outskirts of the city. Émile Zola wrote of the old Les Halles in his The Belly of Paris, volume three of Zola’s twenty novels examining the French bourgeoisie, civil conflict, hunger, and poverty.
Les Halles dated back to at least 1183. The nearby church of St. Eustache, where Louis XIV received his first communion, contains one of the most interesting and startling sculptures ever seen in a church: Raymond Mason’s ” Le départ des fruits et légumes du cœur de Paris, le 28 février 1969” (The Departure of Fruits and Vegetables from the Heart of Paris, February 28, 1969).
What Les Halles used to look like:
More of the old look:
And now Rungis, nice, new, and clean, with exotic foods from around the world:
Rungis, the larger view:
© 2011 C. Bertelsen