Paris Neighbouhood guide: Chatelet Les Halles

  • 05, Sep 2019
  • All things Paris
  • Jocelyn Wensjoe

Being the oldest district in Paris filled with rich past times, Chatelet Les Halles is now surrounded by popular shopping centers, hip bars, and restaurants from all over the world, and modern art museums. Being that there are a lot of new concepts in the 1st arrondissement, it has not lost all its history for there are still monuments standing in the district kept there to remind people of how Paris has evolved over the years. Trust us when we say, this is going to be one of the places suggested online to visit when in Paris. Let’s take a small self-guided tour of what places you can visit when in Chatelet Les Halles.

theatre du chatelet
an american in paris

Experience the beauty of theatre in Theatre du Chatelet 

After being closed for restoration for two years, Theatre du Chatelet is back! You already know Opera Garnier now let us tell you a little bit about Theatre du Chatelet. Here is where locals and tourists go to watch modern theatrical acts, classics, musicals, operas, plays, dance performances of all genres and so much more. Built in 1862 right in the heart of Paris. Currently, the two most iconic performances headlined in this theatre are An American in Paris, a love story between an American dreamer and a special Parisian woman and Handel’s Saul a theatrical play about anger and envy based on the biblical book of Samuel. These shows will be sure to blow you away! What better way to enjoy the Parisian life than to watch traditional dramatic plays?

rue montorgueil
pastry shop

The trendiest spot in the center of Paris

This extensive street surrounded by trendy bars, gastronomic delicacies, cute Parisian boutiques, and artistic designs on most of the buildings can go on for miles. It’s no mystery to why it’s a sightseer’s favorite place to walk around for hours. Its cobblestoned pavement was made specifically for pedestrians to wander and admire all the glory that surrounds the pathway. People will stumble upon random café’s they’ve never heard about and instantly fall in love with the food or even just the upbeat atmosphere. In this area, you are likely to spot the oldest bakery in Paris, Stohrer which still stands since 1730 when it used to cater to Marie Leszcynska the wife of King Louis XV. The long path will also lead you towards a classic restaurant that’s hard to miss with a big golden snail sitting on top of it. This restaurant is called The Snail Montorgueil, if you’re in the mood to try typical plates in France such as escargot (snails) or duck well- cooked or foie gras (duck liver). The environment is very lively in this part of the district and you will find foreigners from every country just roaming around or sipping coffee in one of the Parisian cafes.

59 rivoli gallery

Modern art at its best 

59 Rivoli, the most eccentric art gallery you will find in the streets of Paris! This isn’t just an ordinary place for modern art, it's an extraordinary place where contemporary art takes many forms, where you can feel what the artists' expressions are reflecting. The entrance is entirely free of charge. Previously an abandoned Haussmann building, three artists took the liberty to transform this empty building covered in graffiti into what is known today as the second most famous tourist attraction of Paris for modern art next to the Pompidou museum, all thanks to mayor Bertrand Delanoe who contributed in making the gallery officially legal and open to the public. You might even recall walking past this building, who can miss an old building in the center of Paris with gigantic eyes and a mouth on it! The art displayed inside is created by 30 workshops by different artists who want to exhibit their work without being judged or told that their work is not good enough. The outcome of the exhibition is outstanding, it’s a unique concept shaped when artists come together to create something unique and beautiful. The artwork in the gallery changes every two weeks, so you can expect to see something different if you decide to stay that long.

hidden passageway

Galerie Vivienne: Have you seen this lavishing hidden pathway?

As previously mentioned Chatelet Les Halles is a very historic district, Galerie Vivienne is proof of that considering it was inaugurated in 1823. This covered passageway is pretty hidden, like many other covered passageways in Paris. Located near Palais Royal, this 176 meters- long path can be deceiving, it may not look lengthy, but you’ll be walking for a while once coming across this gem. Here you will find luxurious stores, exclusive shoes with brand names such as Christian Louboutin, fancy home decors, high- end restaurants, and clothing boutiques like Jean Paul Gaultier. If you don’t believe you’ll be purchasing any of these items it's always fun to window shop as well and take in all the beautiful 1800 designs such as the pathway’s mosaic inspired flooring.

jazz

The finest place to jam with some jazz 

Are you into jazz? Cause even if you’re not you’ll still love this place and all its soul music glory. Baiser Sale is a laid back jazz club where you can have a drink while listening to live music coming from talented artists playing the piano, guitar, drums, and the saxophone! Did we mention they sing too? It’s like being transported back to the 20s with a modern twist of course. If you’re planning to go to Baiser Sale (which translates to salty kiss) then we suggest going early because at times this joint gets crowded with 40 to 50 people, meaning if you want to grab a good seat all we have to say is “the early bird gets the worm”.

I want tickets to watch the live jazz performance

nelson mandela park

Photo by Franceinfo: ©

Where the locals meet

While visiting Forum Des Halles and Église Saint-Eustache, which by the way are very close in distance, you might as well also take a small blanket and have a picnic in Nelson Mandela park located in front of the Canopy mall and on the right side of the entrance of Église Saint-Eustache. Nelson Mandela park is a place where locals hang out with friends while listening to music and eating a snack as they sip on some wine, yes this is very French. On weekends there are also small events and local concerts, you’ll see a variety of different nationalities getting together to enjoy the weather and the blissful atmosphere. The park is covered with green grass all over and in summer some locals go in their bathing suit to catch some sun. In the park, there is also a mini playground for children to enjoy, and during hot days there are water activities where they can play.

pool

This pool is hard to spot

Whether it's winter or summer the perfect place to dive into is Suzanne- Berlioux swimming pool, literally. This indoor swimming pool has all activities such as aqua cycling, fin swimming, and other aerobic aquatic activities. The entrance is not very expensive for only 5 euros, and you’d be able to take pleasure in swimming in a 50x20 meter pool. The pool area also accommodates anyone with a physical disability. To make it even more convenient for you, this pool is located on the very last ground floor within the Forum Des Halles mall. After shopping, you can go for a nice cool dip in the water, there are free lockers available for you to feel free and leave those shopping bags somewhere safe.

odd bar

The Last Bar before the end of the world: A euphoria for Sci-fi fans 

Known as “Le Dernier Pub Avant La Fin Du Monde” in French, this interesting bar is the right place to geek out! With a menu list of food and drinks named after fictional characters like Poison ivy, Jedi knight, Chupacabra, Calopus and so on. The bar’s style is also very unusual, adorned with science fiction books and games, cushiony brown leather couches you would see in mystery movies and E.T. holding the menu of the day. In order to enjoy the pub, you must be very open-minded, considering it gets visits from a diverse group of individuals with distinctive mindsets. Even if you’re not into Star Wars, zombies, or aliens, you will want to stay for the delicious food and drinks with a flavorful twist.

food market

Take a stroll down the local Marche Sainte Eustache

Food markets, Paris is full of them. Luckily there is one in the center of Paris, Marche Sainte Eustache. While walking down Chatelet Les Halles you’ll notice a long line of stands where vendors are selling their products, very typical in France. Here you can find a mix of vegetables, fruits, meats, cheese, wine and even natural beauty products. France is big on natural beauty products. The market is open to the public every week on Thursdays from 12h30 until 20h and Sundays from 7h until 15h, meaning there are only two days of the week where you will have the opportunity to visit the heart of Paris’ local farmer’s market.

mall

Shop til you drop in the underground mall Forum Des Halles

A very controversial structure that was built in recent years is the Canopy mall in Forum Des Halles, locals seem to hate it and love it at the same time, but the truth is everyone enjoys it! This is the most visited shopping center in Paris with over 150,000 visitors on a daily basis. This convenient mall has a little bit of everything, and when we say a little bit of everything, we don’t just mean stores. Westfield Forum Des Halles has a multiple variety of stores from home décor, to stylish clothing, sports supplies, beauty care and that’s not all this shopping center is also jam-packed with a movie theatre, a library, a virtual reality center, a gymnasium and everything else you desire. This 14-meter-high structure has three floors and it does not start from top to bottom, oh no sir, it starts from the bottom to the top considering its an underground shopping center. Here you can also find one of the largest metro stations in Paris with all the metro lines to go anywhere in the city after shopping. So, depending on whether you’re into shopping for some clothes, cookware, groceries, books, or just looking to relax around a big crowd of people the Forum Des Halles might just be the place for you.

sainte eustache

One of the oldest churches in Paris

There is an 806 year- old monument that dates back to the year 1213 and is now surrounded by new shopping centers in a popular tourist site, that is Chatelet Les Halles. Next to Notre Dame, Eglise Sainte- Eustache is the second oldest medieval church constructed in Paris. In early years this tall gothic church with eye-catching architecture was first built as a chapel to secure relics gifted by Abbey of Saint Denis and was then expanded in 1532. It stores a grim history being that it is in the heart of Paris where the largest cemetery used to lie. After the restoration of the city of Paris in the 19th century, Sainte- Eustache was one of the few lucky monuments to stay intact. The church in the inside is adorned with gothic accessories from the renaissance times, one very special ornament that puts the cherry on the cake is an antique organ installed in the church in the 1500s. Now that Notre Dame is under construction once more after the tragic fire, we suggest visiting Eglise Saint- Eustache. Imagine standing in an 806-year-old church with abundant history and beautiful glass stained windows similar to that of Sainte Chapelle and its breathtaking décor inside and out. Small tip, pay close attention when walking towards the church, you’ll notice its uniquely remarkable gargoyles decorating every corner there’s even one of a man’s face sticking his tongue out at you. 

 

There you have it, the most treasured places to visit when heading to Chatelet Les Halles. If you wish to see what the other districts have to offer to check out our other Parisian neighbourhoods guides:

Paris Neighbourhood Guide: Montmartre

Paris Neighbourhood Guide:Bastille

Paris Neighbourhood Guide: The Avenue Des Champs- Elysées

Paris Neighbourhood Guide: Le Marais

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