Situated in the very center of Paris, in the vibrant area known as the Les Halles/Beaubourg district, the Forum des Halles is an underground shopping mall in the heart of Paris, topped by a park, featuring dozens of stores, restaurants, two cinemas, and a sports and recreation center. Built on the former grounds of a teeming food and meat market called ""Les Halles"" which was dismantled for hygienic concerns, the monstrous shopping complex is always packed with Parisians, especially on Saturdays, when locals in surrounding suburbs come in to the city to shop.
Paris' main wholesale food market stood here for nearly 800 years before being replaced by this underground shopping mall in 1971. Four floors of stores extend down to the city's busiest metro hub, while a massive renovation project – with an enormous golden-hued translucent canopy as centrepiece – is under way, with a target completion date of 2016.
Location and accessibility
The Forum is centrally located in Paris's first arrondissement, close to major attractions such as the Louvre and Centre Pompidou. It is well connected to the underground system with Les Halles as the nearest metro station. Underground corridors connect the station to lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14.
Shopper Trafic/Catchment Area
Catchment area: 7.6 million people from the surrounding area.
Shopper traffic: 37.6 million visitors annually.
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Features mall architecture
In 1979, the city decided to fill in the hole. The controversial design of the Forum, which opened in 1986, was created by the French architects Claude Visconi - Forum des Halles, Paris Willerval's 'Umbrella' who designed the underground section - and Jean Willerval, who was responsible for the ground level design.
The Forum des Halles in 2014 will be given a new life when completed– an impressive canopy designed by Patrick Berger and Jacques Anziutti will submerse the shopping centre with natural light and create a unique atmosphere of leisure, culture and retail.
There will be an inviting new public garden, a larger pedestrian district, a new building inspired by nature (La Canopée), a greater number of easier-to-use pathways and routes, a larger, more functional regional train station, an enlarged, refurbished shopping centre, more cultural facilities and a reorganized underground road network.
With Les Halles – destined to become the heart of a great metropolis, reflecting the vibrancy and excitement
of the French capital – the Paris of tomorrow is taking shape.
This shoppingcentre is built in different levels and is designed around 'a huge crater', forming a central square. From this square starts a huge labyrinth of underground streets with shops, snackbars and restaurants.