Paris - Around Town : Beaubourg and Les Halles (part 2) - Memories of Les Halles

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A Day in Les Halles


Tackle the Centre Georges Pompidou early, as the expansive modern art museum is worth a leisurely visit, and some of the excellent temporary exhibits may catch your eye. If you need refreshment after all that art, it has to be Georges, the chic brasserie at the top of the centre with good views and a choice of drinks, snacks or main meals.

On leaving the centre turn right into the Quartier de l’Horloge to catch the noon battle of the Défenseur du Temps clock.

Providing you have booked ahead, lunch at the 1912 bistro Benoit , whose lunchtime menu is far cheaper than in the evening. After lunch visit the Eglise St-Merry.


Pass the Fontaine des Innocents as you head for Les Halles, but first go into the church of St-Eustache which was the place of worship of the market workers at the old Les Halles. You could then spend the rest of the afternoon shopping at the vast, if somewhat unprepossessing Forum des Halles .

Stop for a drink at A La Tour de Montlhéry, more commonly known as Chez Denise . It’s packed at mealtimes, but by late afternoon you might be lucky enough to get a seat and be ready to try their famous Gâteau Marguerite with strawberries and cream.

Memories of Les Halles

  1. Le Cochon à l’Oreille

    Dating back to the early 20th century, this ornate working men’s café/bar decorated with murals is where you’ll see market traders from rue de l’Orgueil sipping their dawn drinks.

    • 15 rue Montmartre, 75001

    Le Cochon à l’Oreille
  2. Au Pied de Cochon

    This 24-hour brasserie still serves dishes which used to appeal to the earthy tastes of market workers, including pigs’ trotters (see Au Pied de Cochon).

  3. St-Eustache Sculpture

    The naive sculpture by Raymond Mason in the church’s Chapelle St-Joseph is a tribute to the beloved market. Its colourful figures depict The Departure of Fruit and Vegetables from the Heart of Paris, 28 February 1969.

    Sculpture outside St-Eustache church
  4. Rue Montorgueil

    The colourful market (Tuesday to Sunday) along this cobbled street is a reminder of the old Les Halles and is frequented by many Paris chefs.

  5. Stöhrer

    One of the loveliest old-fashioned patisseries in the city, founded in 1730 by a pastry chef who had worked for Louis XV.

    • 51 rue Montorgueil, 75002

  6. Bistrot d’Eustache

    A visit here is like stepping back into the jazz spots of Paris in the 1930–40s. It offers good, reasonably priced brasserie fare and live jazz on Friday and Saturday.

    • 37 rue Berger, 75001

  7. La Fresque

    This wonderful restaurant used to be a fishmongers. An original tiled fishing scene still decorates the back room.

    • 100 rue Rambuteau, 75001

  8. Dehillerin

    Since 1820, everyone from army cooks to gourmet chefs has come here for copper pots, cast-iron pans and cooking utensils.

    • 18 rue Coquillière, 75001

  9. Duthilleul et Minart

    For more than 100 years this shop has sold French work clothes and uniforms such as chef’s hats and watchmaker’s smocks. Good for unique gifts.

    • 14 rue de Turbigo, 75001

  10. A La Cloche des Halles

    This wine bar literally rings with history. The “cloche” is the bronze bell whose peal once signalled the beginning and end of the market day (see La Cloche des Halles).

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