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What Les Halles, Paris looked like in the 1950s

Les Halles was the hub of all food distribution in Paris for 800 years. During the day, the enormous steel arches covered the main market area, where vegetables were sold and citizens of Paris met. Baltard designed the steelwork, which was reminiscent of the support structures at the Gare du Nord, St. Lazare, or better still, the Musee d’Orsay.

While the construction was considered practical by 19th and 20th century standards, the high beams adorned with paint-encrusted rivets and glass awnings represent the fading beauty of the fin de siècle. The meat and fish markets were most interesting at night when they were hustling and bustling. At night, thousands of tons of meat and fish were bought, butchered, traded, and sold.

Some stunning vintage photos show the biggest market in Paris in the 1950s.

#1 A street scene in the Paris market district of ‘Les Halles’, in Paris, 1954

A street scene in the Paris market district of 'Les Halles', in Paris, 1954

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#2 A man jumping over a gutter in les Halles, 1953

A man jumping over a gutter in les Halles, 1953

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#3 A woman jumping over a gutter in les Halles, 1953

A woman jumping over a gutter in les Halles, 1953

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#4 Early in the morning in Les Halles, the traditional central market of Paris, in 1953

Early in the morning in Les Halles, the traditional central market of Paris, in 1953

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#5 Men in front of a brazier behind leeks at night in Les Halles, 1953

Men in front of a brazier behind leeks at night in Les Halles, 1953

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#6 Beaubourg District, Les Halles, 1953

Beaubourg District, Les Halles, 1953

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#7 Les Halles, 1953

Les Halles, 1953

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#8 Les Halles in the morning, 1953

Les Halles in the morning, 1953

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#9 Butcher Stall in Les Halles, 1953,

Butcher Stall in Les Halles, 1953,

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#10 Les Halles, 1953

Les Halles, 1953

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#11 A nun carrying her Shopping in Les Halles, 1953

A nun carrying her Shopping in Les Halles, 1953

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#12 Les Halles, 1952,

Les Halles, 1952,

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#13 The Halles, Rue Du Pont-Neuf, 1952

The Halles, Rue Du Pont-Neuf, 1952

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#14 French dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, accompanied by her husband in Les Halles, 1952

French dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, accompanied by her husband in Les Halles, 1952

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#15 Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#16 Marché de la viande aux Halles de Paris, 1950

Marché de la viande aux Halles de Paris, 1950

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#17 Busy street scene of the central market place “Les Halles” and vicinity, 1950s

Busy street scene of the central market place "Les Halles" and vicinity, 1950s

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#18 Les Halles district. 1950s

Les Halles district. 1950s

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#19 Famous restaurant ‘Le pied de cochon’ in Les Halles, 1950s

Famous restaurant 'Le pied de cochon' in Les Halles, 1950s

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#20 Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#21 Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#22 Greengrocer and market porter in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Greengrocer and market porter in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#23 Inside view of a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

Inside view of a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

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#24 Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Greengrocer in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#25 Bar in Les Halles district, 1950

Bar in Les Halles district, 1950

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#26 Inside view of a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

Inside view of a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

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#27 Butchers having lunch in Les Halles district, 1950

Butchers having lunch in Les Halles district, 1950

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#28 Butcher at work in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Butcher at work in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#29 Market porters in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

Market porters in Les Halles which was the central wholesale market of Paris, 1950

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#30 Butcher at work in Les Halles, 1950

Butcher at work in Les Halles, 1950

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#31 Butchers playing dice in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

Butchers playing dice in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

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#32 Outside view of famous restaurant ‘Le pied de cochon’ in Les Halles district, 1950

Outside view of famous restaurant 'Le pied de cochon' in Les Halles district, 1950

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#33 Butchers in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

Butchers in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

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#34 Butcher in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

Butcher in a cafe in Les Halles district, 1950

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#35 Greengrocers in Les Halles, 1950

Greengrocers in Les Halles, 1950

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#36 Greengrocers in Les Halles, 1950

Greengrocers in Les Halles, 1950

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#37 Greengrocer in Les Halles, 1950

Greengrocer in Les Halles, 1950

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#38 Woman in Les Halles, 1950

Woman in Les Halles, 1950

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#39 At the end of market in Les Halles, 1950

At the end of market in Les Halles, 1950

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#40 The Butchery of Les Halles, Paris, 1950.

The Butchery of Les Halles, Paris, 1950.

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#41 An employee working for a butcher’s at the market of the Halles in Paris, carries in 1950s a part of beef.

An employee working for a butcher's at the market of the Halles in Paris, carries in 1950s a part of beef.

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#42 New Year’s Eve shopping around the central Halles in Paris, 1959

New Year's Eve shopping around the central Halles in Paris, 1959

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#43 The Halles, November 1959.

The Halles, November 1959.

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#44 A restaurant owner choosing his products in Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, 1959

A restaurant owner choosing his products in Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, 1959

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#45 Forum Des HallesNew Year’s Eve shopping, 1959

Forum Des HallesNew Year's Eve shopping, 1959

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#46 After The Fire at Les Halles Warehouse, 1959

After The Fire at Les Halles Warehouse, 1959

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#47 After The Fire of Les Halles Warehouse, 1959

After The Fire of Les Halles Warehouse, 1959

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#48 Beaubourg District, Les Halles, 1957

Beaubourg District, Les Halles, 1957

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#49 Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

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#50 Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

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#51 Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

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#52 Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

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#53 Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

Greengrocers, Les Halles, 1956

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#54 Grocers Strike at Paris, Les Halles, 1956

Grocers Strike at Paris, Les Halles, 1956

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#55 The Halles, October 1955

The Halles, October 1955

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#56 The meat hall in Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, at seven in the morning, on June 3, 1955

The meat hall in Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, at seven in the morning, on June 3, 1955

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#57 Market porter in the meat hall of Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, those men were called “Forts des Halles”, 1955

Market porter in the meat hall of Les Halles, which was historically the traditional central market of Paris, those men were called "Forts des Halles", 1955

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#58 The Halles of Paris, 1955

The Halles of Paris, 1955

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#59 The Meat Unit of Les Halles, 1955

The Meat Unit of Les Halles, 1955

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#60 A cheese stall outside a shop in the vicinity of Les Halles, Paris, 1955

A cheese stall outside a shop in the vicinity of Les Halles, Paris, 1955

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#61 The Les Halles Pavillions in Paris, 1955

The Les Halles Pavillions in Paris, 1955

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#62 Christmas Poultry, Les Halles, 1954

Christmas Poultry, Les Halles, 1954

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#63 Man Carrying Goods on Frame on Back, Les Halles, 1954

Man Carrying Goods on Frame on Back, Les Halles, 1954

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#64 Close-up of a typical flower woman, Les Halles, 1953

Close-up of a typical flower woman, Les Halles, 1953

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#65 Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

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#66 Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

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#67 Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

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#68 Les Halles of Paris by Night, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris by Night, 1950s

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#69 Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

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#70 Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

Les Halles of Paris, 1950s

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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