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Robert Doisneau and the belly of Paris


img_2435.jpgThe postcards from Paris with the pictures of a young running boy with the baguette under his arm, or the famous kiss of lovers in front of the Parisian townhall Hôtel de Ville are well-known. And if you know these clichés, then we do not have to introduce you the Parisian photographer Robert Doisneau.

„Paris is a theatre in which the price of the ticket is the lost time.“ (Robert Doisneau)
On February 8th in the building of Hôtel de Ville in Paris started an exhibition of 200 photographs with the name „Doisneau Paris Les Halles“. The exhibition is a story of Doisneau’s love to the „belly of Paris“, as the main Parisian market was called. The first Doisneau’s picture of the market was taken in 1933 and since that moment he was coming here regularly to take pictures. In the 60-ies, when it was announced that the market would be moved to the suburbs Rungis (where it is up till now), the photographer was coming here at least once a week. He was taking pictures of the merchants, smiling chubby women selling fish, flowers, poultry, the strong manly butchers, heaps of the poultry, vegetables, the life of the market in spring, in winter, before Christmas, in the rain. When in 1969 the market was moved to Rungis, Doisneau said: „Paris is loosing its belly and with it also its spirit.“
The exhibition is not only a pleasant experience of seeing professional pictures of the man who was taking pictures with his heart and soul, but it is also a guide to the Parisian life in the scale of 40 years, from the 30-ies till 70-ies.
We learn that the „tasseurs“ (compressors) were real artists, being able to make a cauliflower 2 metres high pyramide high. About 700 „forts“ (the strong ones) were carrying the goods from outside to the detached market houses. „Glaneurs“ (gleaners), at the end of the market were picking up the left food, from ground and from the waste bins. „Poissons-Pilotes“ (pilot fish) were those who guided the suppliers to the sale place.
Several interesting dates from the exhibition, concerning the history of the Parisian market:
1135 - king Louis VII. establishes a first market
1545 - king François I. starts the reconstructions of Les Halles
1808 - Napoleon reorganizes the covered markets and establishes the reglementation for slaughter-houses.
1852-1870 - On order of Napoleon III. begins the construction of 10 detached market houses designed by Victor Baltard.
1960 - decision is made to move the market from Les Halles to Rungis
1969 - inauguration of the market in Rungis
1971 - destruction of the Baltard’s detached market houses and beginning of the img_2449.jpgconstruction of the RER station.
1976 - construction of the Les Halles center
1979 - inauguration of Les Halles
Exhibition in the Hôtel de Ville building from February 8th till April 28th 2012.
Free entrance. Opening hours: Every day except Sunday and holidays, from 10 a.m. till 7 p.m.
© Paristep

Preview of picture in folder Paris street | Jan Schinko jr.