Le Forum des Halles, is located where a huge market used to be, in the centre of Paris. The
market, known as the Halles, was a wholesale food market that dated all the way back to the
Middle Ages. It was located just a little north of l’Île de la Cité, an island in the middle of the river
Seine, and handled all of the food for Paris. The Halles was declared outdated, and demolished in
1971, and a new food market was built further out of the city centre. The area where the Halles
was is now the Forum des Halles, a huge shopping complex, 57 000m².
The Forum is an underground shopping and leisure area, which consists of one ground level, and
three underground levels. There are many shops, businesses, restaurants and cafés, cinemas and
facilities for culture and sports. There are approximately 200 boutiques/shops, swimming pools,
cinemas, theatres, a variety of museums and an oceanographic centre which is named after the
famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
The Forum is a modern-looking building, made of glass, concrete, metal and mirrors, with all of
these materials curving to form a flowing super-structure.
A big attraction of the Forum des Halles is la FNAC. FNAC is a massive bookstore which takes
up many levels of the Forum. It also has videos and audio. People spend heaps of time browsing through the super-store, and, in
particular, the comic strip section. Many Parisians like the huge range of comics at FNAC, and
spend lots of time catching up on their favourite comic characters. There is also FNAC Sports.
The Forum des Halles has been called “the busiest town centre in the world”, which although is
debatable, it cannot be denied that the Forum is certainly busy. Hundreds of Parisians can be seen
at all times of the day amongst the shops of the underground complex.
The Forum is accessible by the Métro system of Paris (the underground trains), and can be easily
found from the RER Châtelet/Les Halles. There are a few other underground train stops in the
area, but this is the main one. It is directly under the complex, and is the largest underground
station in Europe. Many tourists and Parisians spend time shuttling between the Forum and
another large attraction in the area - le Centre Georges Pompidou.
The Forum is a huge place for entertainment, boasting 19 auditoriums and 23 theatres, nearly all of
them with Dolby Surround sound and huge screens. The biggest seats a whopping 5000 people!
Taken into consideration, though, this size is reasonable as the Forum attractions 37 million
visitors each year. No wonder that the Forum is the biggest movies complex in the whole of
Shops of note include FNAC, FNAC Sport (also known as Go Sport), Darty, Habitat, La Redoute,
Sephora, Zara, Esprit, H&M, Giacomelli Sport, Mango, Gap and Muji just to name a few. The
Forum is shopper’s paradise!
says re Forum des Halles: The oceanographic centre doesn't exist any more. The 20-screen cinema complex UGC Ciné-Cité les Halles replaced it in 1995.
/me grins - so much for up-to-date sources! (thanks)