Photos showing life in the “belly of Paris” (le ventre de Paris) by Robert Doisneau are on display at Hôtel de Ville. The exhibit is free, and the photos of Les Halles are mostly black and white in simple black frames. Some from the 1960s, in color. No fancy matboards. No matboards at all. Les Halles was a busy place—no place to be fancy, judging from the photographs.
The photos of Doisneau show fresh and hard-working faces. They are fresh because the people voluntarily look into his camera. They knew him when he came to the market place to record action now and then. His first photos were in 1933. Pierre Delbos, a photographer friend of Robert Doisneau, said that what “surprised him” was how people would see Doisneau and come up to him. He didn’t have to ask them to have a photo taken. He says that Doisneau had a flair, a certain way of looking at the people; he really liked being around them.