Walking in Les Halles


Paris’s old market area still has food shops galore, plus an adventure playground and a medieval tower.

Begin at the Jardin des Halles, a park that replaced Paris’s ancient wholesale food market. Inside the huge Church of Saint-Eustache (1), kids can search for the colorful relief sculpture of characters packing up a cart with gruit and vegetables when the market closed. Back outisde, two elephant mark the entrance to the Jardin des Enfants aux Halles (2, allée Victor Baltard) an adventure playground for 7-to-11-year-olds with great tunnels and slides and strictly no adultes (except Saturday morning, when they may accompany children). Sessions last one hour. Avoid the Forum des Halles, the grubby shopping mall at the eastern end. Instead, stroll around the food shops and cafés along pedestrianized rue Montorgueil. Foody’s (3, 26 rue Montorgueil) has good food in a bright modern setting . Look for the snail sign outside the restaurant L’escargot Montorgueil (4, #38). Continue up the street to inspect the cakes at Pâtisserie Stohrer (5, #51) or stop for lunch at Au Rocher de Cancale (6, #78) with its painted façade and heated terrace. Backtrack to rue Etienne Marcel, turning left for the Tour Jean Sans Peur (7, 20 rue Etienne Marcel), a remnant of the medieval palace of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. Climb the tower, stopping on each floor, where panels in French and English explain medieval construction methods and the baronial lifestyle.

Metro Station : Louvre-Rivoli (line 1), Etienne-Marcel (line 4), Les Halles (line 4), Châtelet (line 1, 4, 7, 11, 14)