The Halles of Alençon!!!

Moving along in my belle France, and another of my road warrior hangouts with many times passing by especially on my way to Paris.  I like to take you to the quant city of Alençon in the Orne dept 61 of the region of Normandy.

I have several posts in my blog on Alençon but have not done justice to the two halls or markets or halles that are architecturally stunning and of local historical value. I will try to tell you a bit more on the Halle au Blé and the Halle Aux Toiles of Alençon.

The Halle au Blé or wheat hall is a building located at Place Halle-au-Blé in Alençon.

alencon

The first stone was laid in 1806 and opened in 1812. The building suffered a fire and was rebuilt in 1836. A metal dome was installed in 1865, imitating the one from the Halle au Blé in Paris.  In the 20C, it knows multiple assignments such as a hospital during WWI, it later becomes a place of many events like fairs, markets, exhibitions etc. The building hosts the fair-exhibition from 1923 to 1970.

It was in 1992 that a restoration operation began. The restoration of the canopy was completed in 1994; the internal plasterwork of the central courtyard was completed in January 1996 and the rehabilitation of the first floor in June 1998. Finally, the last phase of this rehabilitation is the restoration of the ground floor in September 2000. The exterior walls, including the original plaster was replaced in the middle of the 20C by a repointing gray cement, coated with a traditional coating identical to that which existed under the First Empire. As far as the interior is concerned, comfort and acoustics are improved and a multipurpose space for new information and communication technologies were developed.

alencon

The Halle au Blé is today a building dedicated to welcoming multimedia, notably the InterChange of Normandy, a center for monitoring new technologies. It also hosts the Cité des Métiers (city of crafts).

City of Alencon heritage info in French

The Halle aux Toiles with  its elegant facade with large windows dates from 1827 . By 1826 the city council decided the construction of the Halle aux toiles (canvas hall). The adjudication of the works is made the following year and it is in 1827 that Marie-Thérèse (Duchess of Angoulême)  of France, daughter of Louis XVI, lays the first stone

alencon

By the time the hall was finished, the trade in hemp cloth, for which it was destined, was falling sharply. In 1828, the plan of the hall is modified to provide a floor intended for justices of peace. Commissioned in 1832, its surroundings turn into a quagmire on rainy days. A retaining wall surrounding the quay is then built on which are fixed twenty-two stone posts topped with iron apples crossed bars also of iron. This entourage is still visible today except two terminals that have disappeared.

alencon

From 1850 the trade of the canvas declines and the hall is decommissioned in 1880. In 1899, the city council decided to built in the building a village hall. Restored in 1938, it serves a little to everything: balls, municipal canteen, cinema, concerts, conferences, exhibitions, theater, etc. Returning to its original name in 1991, it was restored in 1993-94 and equipped with audiovisual equipment for use as a convention hall.

City of Alencon culture and events page

There you go two alternating nice monuments to see in nice Alençon , do stop by the Halle au Blé and the Halle aux Toiles. The tourist office for a general reference as not much info here unless you go and get a brochure there

Tourist office of Alençon on things to see and do in French

Voilà the off the beaten path dept 61 of the Orne will surprise you after all you are still in Normandy! Hope you enjoy these nice architecture buildings.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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