Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Denise Davidson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jared Poley


Les Halles, Paris’s historic marketplace, was once called “the belly of Paris” by Emile Zola. Les Halles was a Parisian institution. The destruction of the marketplace in 1971, especially the famed Baltard pavilions, set off a firestorm of debate and public dissent not seen on an urban issue in nearly a century. Within the debate over Les Halles existed a series of gripping juxtapositions or binaries- a battle between the Gaullists and the liberal intellectuals, capitalists and workers, modernity and tradition. These juxtapositions reveal France’s struggle to adapt to the new modernity that emerged in the postwar and post-colonial years. The battle over Les Halles was symbolic of the power struggle between Gaullists who wanted to “modernize” France on the one side, and on the other, a group of intellectuals and preservationists who sough to protect Les Halles as a symbol of traditional French identity.