The area of Les Halles was once the stomach of Paris, even though it did not seem like it when we visited. It had been the market center since the very beginning of the city. In the mid-1800s, glass and iron pavilions were built to protect the food from the elements and allow for better sanitation. These pavilions made Parisians proud of the area. They are gone now since they were bombed during World War I and then could not compete with modern markets methods.
Now, it is an underground mall and metro hub, with ongoing construction to redo the park that’s above it. The underground mall is confusing, dark, and stuffy. The atmosphere did not encourage me to shop even though I normally love to shop. Instead, it gave me a headache.
It is such a shame that the pavilions are lost. While I do not know first hand what the old park looked like due to construction, it apparently was crime-ridden due to poor planning, which does not seem like a good way of preserving the past. When the past is lost though, it might not make sense to recreate it. Paris is not the same as it was in the time of the market and so perhaps it is necessary to let it adapt and move forward as they are with the new park design, instead of looking to the past.