Les Halles was one of the biggest central fresh food markets in Paris. Its name comes from the wholesale market of fresh produce that used to take place here in the 12th century. Unfortunately, the market’s success led to its demise. Les Halles could not compete in the new market economy and needed massive repairs. The wholesale market was moved to the suburb of Rungis in 1973. The colorful ambiance once associated with Les Halles disappeared in 1973 when it was dismantled (fruit, flower, and vegetable markets moved in 1969, and only the butchers at the meat markets remained).
In the 1960s, traffic congestion at the market caused severe bottlenecks in the city center, and the site was earmarked for demolition. Physically removing the arcades left a gaping hole in the earth, eventually turning into a multi-story underground shopping mall and a metro station called Forum Les Halles. The pavilion built on the site is now a garden, which mimics some of the site’s original features and Baltard’s architecture but is primarily a pleasant pedestrian area. The Pavillon Baltard is one of these halls that still exists as a national monument in Nogent-sur-Marne, a Paris suburb where it is used as a concert hall.