an institution in Avignon
Les Halles is what the people of Avignon call the covered market which occupies a strategic place in the heart of the city, facing the Place Pie.
A cattle market from the 16th century
Its history begins in the 16th century with wooden barracks for animals set up there, intended to be sold at an open-air market.
This painting by Pierre Grivolas, exhibited at the Calvet Museum, depicts a scene of life in the 19th century: The market in Place Pie.
The Iron hall in the mid-19th century
The market experienced a real boom thanks to the construction of an iron hall in 1864.This is where the inhabitants come to buy their food every day. Part of this structure, the market hall of the Place Saint Jean, was moved much later to the Place des Carmes. It now hosts a small market held there every Saturday morning and a flea market every Sunday morning.
The Halles Centrales in the early 20th century
The construction of the Halles Centrales in the form of a covered market began in 1898 and was completed the following year.
The Halles were subsequently renovated and refurbished several times over the decades.
The new Halles with car parking lot from the 1970s
In the 1970s, faced with the expansion of large peripheral shopping centres, a new traffic and parking policy was decided in order to facilitate access to the shops in the city centre. New Halles with a 5-level car park and over 500 spaces on top were inaugurated in 1974 on the site of the old ones. To admire the city from above, you have to go to the top floor. This is an excellent view of the Popes’ Palace.
The green wall on the north facade
The last transformation dates from 2006 with the creation of a green wall 11.50 metres high and 30 metres wide covering the north façade of the building. This work by the botanist Patrick Blanc is a real feat with its closed-circuit watering system that feeds a vegetation of 20 plants per square metre. The nutrient-laden water flows from the top in a drip. The roots of the plants take up the nutrients they need for their growth and excess water is collected by gutters at the bottom of the wall and then reinjected by solenoid valves into the network. The plants are selected for their ability to adapt to this type of medium and to the exposure.
The Halles market is a real institution in Avignon
The interior of the market is just as fascinating. Once you enter the market, it’s a festival of colours and smells that invades you. A multitude of colourful stalls offer you top quality products. Fruit and vegetables, seafood, meat and charcuterie, spices, breads, pastries and many other regional products are on display. The smell of fresh bread mingles with that of roast chicken.
There is no shortage of specialities. So take at least one fougasse, plain, with olives or with walnuts. You’ll feel right at home in Provence!
Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Place Pie is transformed for part of the day into an impressive flea market. The bargain hunters will find their happiness among books, records, furniture, paintings, old objects and curiosities of the time.
But the Halles d’Avignon is not just a place to buy food. It is a real institution, an experience in itself. The regulars take their appetizer in a friendly atmosphere; the tourists stroll between the stalls to taste a tapenade or a piece of cheese; others prefer to settle down at lunch time to taste a regional dish or a plate of oysters.
The products are of high quality, mostly from local producers, and several chefs source raw materials for their restaurants. Themed cooking workshops are regularly organised on site on Saturdays with seasonal products: mushrooms, squash, truffles, etc.
Practical Info: Market open all year round and every day from 7am to 1.30pm except Mondays.