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.