Paris & Les Halles

The Sixties


Photography of Paris during the 1960s, with a focus on the markets of Les Halles before their demolition.


More information about David Pendery


Paris during the nineteen sixties underwent major upheavals of society, urbanism and culture. Technology and modernism did not always keep up with city’s everyday life and people, however.  High-rise buildings had barely broached the central city and installation of a new telephone could take five years.


 This exhibition includes 40 photographs of Paris during the nineteen sixties, divided between images of the markets of les Halles Baltard during its final years and photographs taken around the city of its places and people. All of the photography was done while the photographer lived in Paris. The photographic style is inspired by the work of Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. Historical information and images of les Halles supplement the exhibit.

The Photographs


Historical Les Halles Baltard

Les Halles Baltard 1860
A few blocks north of the Pont Neuf, les Halles was the central food market of Paris for over 800 years. From the 12th century, it grew informally around the medieval Pilori, the public square of capital punishment. During the mid-nineteenth century, les Pavillons Baltard were constructed, providing “huge umbrellas” of cast iron and glass to cover the vendors. Twenty percent of all French food passed through les Halles.

With business conducted all night, the area became legendary, and scenes of tuxedoed restaurant patrons next to butchers in blood soaked aprons were common.  By the mid-twentieth century, the site proved to be too constrained for the nightly transit of 6,000 trucks and 8,000 tons of food. The wholesale market was transferred to the suburbs in 1969, and les Pavillons were destroyed in 1971.