Les Halles des Champeaux

As it is today, Paris was a hub for fashion in the fourteenth century, and an exciting primary-source account describes such delectable textiles that were available in a multi-story mall with vendors offering a wide variety of clothes and adornments, perhaps even purses like the one mentioned here. In 1323 Jean de Jandun describes the shopping area of the Halles des Champeaux on the Right Bank:

“There you will be able to buy all the types of ornaments that the most practiced industry and the most inventive spirit hasten to imagine . . . In the lower parts of this market, . . . are found draperies, one more beautiful than the other; in others, some superb pelisses, some made of animal skins, others of silk materials. In the upper part, . . . are displayed all the objects that serve to adorn the different parts of the human body . . . belts or the loins, purses to hang at the side; gloves for the hands; necklaces for the breast.”

While men, of course, adorned their bodies with similar finely made things, women most certainly were major clients for the goods at this location, and so we include it as a feminine space on our digital map. In fact, prestige manifested on the bodies of women and their attendants was so important in Paris at this time that textile merchants sold directly to the wealthy women of Paris. For example, Claude Belun sold textiles to Mahaut d’Artois and purchased them at the liquidation of Clémence de Hongrie’s belongings in 1328.

Present-day location: 21 Rue Berger