Horse meat markets and slaughterhouses in Paris

The first large horse market in Paris is documented to the late 15th century in the district of the Rue de Tournon. Moved to the Tournelles hotel in the 16th century, it used the stables of this royal residence for its facilities. After various transformations, it then settled on the current Saint-Marcel and Hôpital boulevards in the 5th arrondissement in 1641. Granted to the city of Paris in the early 19th century, it underwent major improvements, with the establishment of two rows of stalls supported by cast-iron columns and capable of housing 400 horses on both sides of a centre pathway. Successive enlargements following the steady increase in activity enabled it to accommodate more than 1,000 horses over total area of around 18,000 square meters.

(…) I arrived to Vaugirard. The manager was a man of great kindness, who loved the arts and was revolted by the brutality of which slaughtered horses could be victims.

Georges Franju, regarding the filming of Blood of the Beasts, in M.M. Brumagne, Franju, impressions et aveux, L'Âge d'Homme, 1977, p. 21

In the early 20th century, under the joint action of neighbouring residents, for hygiene concerns, and since the horse butcher trade union ended for efficiency reasons, the market was closed and transferred to the Vaugirard general slaughterhouses. It was then attached to a horseflesh slaughterhouse, which succeeded the Pantin (1867-1910) then Villejuif (1866-1903) slaughterhouses. The Vaugirard slaughterhouse was a building looking to meet the wishes of both horse butchers and "traditional" butchers of the Villette slaughterhouses, the latter complaining that the slaughter of horses gave off an overwhelming smell detrimental to their business. It remained active until 1976.

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