Les Halles, the traditional Paris market place for over 800 years, has been condemned to die by the City's planners.
GV Les Halles
CU Sign "Les Halles"
CU Street name on wall, Rue Rambuteau
GV PAN interior of hall
GV Ext. of Les Halles district (3 shots)
SV Men loading meat into lorries and pushing meat trollies through market (4 shots)
GV Ext. meat market
SV & TV Produce being sold in street (3 shots)
MV Closed shops (5 shots)
SVs Various side-shows in former market buildings (4 shots)
MV Sign handing from ceiling advertising display of sculpture
MV & SV Various types of sculpture (5 shots)
MV Painted and coloured pottery (2 shots)
CU & SV Jewellery on display
MV & SV Visitors inspecting pottery and other goods (5 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Les Halles, the traditional Paris market place for over 800 years, has been condemned to die by the City's planners. The site is to be used for a new underground railway station, and the present markets are being moved to a new site in a Paris suburb. The old site comes under the wrecker's hammer on July 1, despite a prolonged and still continuing battle to save it.
But while many of the traditional stalls in the old Les Halles have shut up and moved out already, a whole new range of stalls has re-opened in anticipation of a last-minute victory against the planners and City authorities. VISNEWS cameraman Pierre Rihouet visited the old Les Halles to film its premature re-birth.
SYNOPSIS: Les Halles, the traditional Paris market place for over 800 years, is condemned to die. City planners have decided to move the many shops and stalls to a paris suburb, and to build an underground railway station instead. The wrecker's hammer is due to begin destroying the old structure on July 1, despite a prolonged battle to save it by many pressure groups.
Les halles was - and still is - a meat market, a general flea-market, and circus-come-fairground. Many shops have shut and moved away since the two-year-old planners' decision to move the site. The butchers are among those who still remain, and are reluctant to move. They all live in hope of a last-minute reprieve; a last-ditch victory against bureaucracy.
The gigantic market place, scattered through a myriad streets and alleyways, almost died prematurely many months ago when shop and stall owners shut up in despair and moved out. The battle against the planners, they thought, could not be won.
But enough of the faithful remained and speculators moved in to set up shops, exhibitions and side-shows in place of the old stalls. New life was breathed into the old institution. The artists moved in when the fruit-sellers moved out, and a movement to turn Les Halles into a giant cultural centre grew in strength.
The artistic exhibitions overcome at least one of the objections to Les halles remaining in its present site. Previously, the many markets had created heavy traffic which brought the heart of Paris to a standstill every night with gigantic road jams. But exhibitions do not create the same flow of lorries and transport vehicles bringing bulky daily produce to the markets. It is late in the day to hope for a complete demolition crews are not far off... go one of its most treasured possessions. Les Halles may yet remain.