Dating from the Middle Ages, les Halles, nicknamed the Belly of Paris were torn down after their relocation to Rungis (near the
Paris-Orly airport) in 1969. Their demolition left an enormous hole in the ground, from which finally emerged a shopping centre and a transport hub, known as the Forum des Halles.
Quite a pretentious name for an underground, claustrophobic, dirty and labyrinthine space. The belly was to be reduced into guts, crowded with passengers using the massive hub junction with five metro and three RER lines.
As Parisians could hardly expect worse with the Canopy redevelopment project, they followed its progress with little interest except for its cost. Though the result
may not be considered artistically interesting, there is now certainly more space with traffic flows quite improved.
Of the twelve glass and cast iron market pavilions designed by Baltard, only one has remained in France, re-installed in the Paris suburb of Nogent sur Marne. One can regret that at least one pavilion was not kept in the centre of Paris, to remember its vocation of food supplier for more than eight hundred years.