Situated in the very center of Paris, in the vibrant area known as the Les Halles/Beaubourg district, the Forum des Halles is a vast underground shopping center 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.
Having recently been torn down and rebuilt as part of a spectacular (and controversial) renovation project loved by some and reviled by others, The Forum des Halles is an excellent choice if you're looking for a convenient place in the city center to find men and women's clothes, home, electronic items, or quirky gifts under a single roof.
It's also an excellent place to head during the annual winter and summer sales in Paris. It's not, however, for the claustrophobic or the crowd-shy: to access the always-teeming mall, you have to descend long escalators from street level, and the center is notorious for being frequented by packs of teenagers. Sometimes, especially after dark, they can get a bit rowdy.
A couple of safety precautions to bear in mind, especially at night: The Forum des Halles has been known as a hotspot for pickpocketing, due to the crowded, busy conditions. Read more on avoiding pickpockets in Paris here. Also, while it's perfectly safe during the day, it's probably best to avoid lingering at or around the center during the late evening hours. Read more on safety tips for your trip to the capital here.
Location and Contact Information:
Shopping Center Opening Hours:
Main shops at the Forum are open every day of the week, including Sundays. On Mondays to Saturdays, the center is open from excepting Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Sundays, shops are open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Restaurants at the center are open Monday through Saturday until 10 pm. Restaurants at the Forum have varying open hours; visit this page at the official website to find hours for a particular eatery.
Main Shops, Brands, and Highlights at the Forum:
The shopping center boasts shops selling men's and women's fashion, home items, gifts, books, electronics and entertainment, and many other specialist boutiques. Most global fashion chains are found here, as well as smaller French or European brands. These include:
- FNAC (books, music, and electronics)
- Calvin Klein
- Comptoir des Cotonniers
- L'Occitane en Provence
- Yves Rocher
Restaurants at Les Halles:
There are nearly 25 restaurants located within Les Halles, meaning finding something that suits your mood or dietary requirements should prove fairly easy. For sandwiches, quiches, pastries and light salads, try La Croissanterie, Le Pain Quotidien, Paul, Pomme de Pain or La Brioche Dorée. For crepes, Crep'eat is a decent choice. Fast food and coffee options include McDonald's and Starbucks, while Pastavino is a good choice if you're hankering for a bowl of pasta.
Sights and Attractions Nearby:
The Forum is in close reach of several major Paris tourist attractions. These include:
- Centre George Pompidou and the "Beaubourg" neighborhood
- The Marais neighborhood
- The Louvre-Tuileries neighborhood
- Louvre Museum
- Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Saint-Jacques Tower (a recently restored 16th-century landmark)
Cinemas at the Forum:
The UGC cineplex plays international blockbusters, many in original English language with subtitles, as well as more independent French and international films.
The Forum des Images is a movie lover's dream, and regularly schedules retrospectives on major directors and film genres, as well as thematic annual festivals and special screenings. It's simply among the best cinemas in Paris.