Gourmet halls are in fashion. Under an elegant glass roof supported by 19th century cast iron pillarse century, merchants offer, from morning to evening, a profusion of food products, while restaurants boast of meals made “with market products”, intended for consumption on the spot. The concept is very popular with municipalities, who hope to welcome food trades in the city center. In recent years, Marseille, Pau or Le Havre (Seine-Maritime) have yielded to the trend. Quimper, Lorient (Morbihan) or Maubeuge (North) should follow.
Several cities use the services of the Biltoki company, created in 2015 in the Basque Country, which specializes in the creation of gourmet halls, playing with market codes. The company administers eight locations, in Toulon, Rouen or Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine), and announces two soon in Angers and Amiens. The shops chosen by the operator must remain open five or six days a week, from morning to evening, sometimes until 11 p.m. Events, gastronomic workshops, concerts or shows regularly take place in these buildings, which can also be privatized on request.
But these places, which are reminiscent of the “food courts” of shopping centers, do not meet the definition of the market given by the case law: “a public supply service [consacré] To the population “. Granted or delegated to large-scale distribution companies, the gourmet halls do not have the same status as the market halls, which belong to the public domain of the municipality and can be occupied, temporarily, by non-sedentary merchants.
The gourmet halls “are among the many predators who offer products similar to those of the markets, such as delivery or click and collect services”believes Kévin Morlet, founder of Saveur Marché, an application that references existing markets and their traders.
Monique Rubin, president of the National Federation of Trade Unions of French Markets (FNSCMF), qualifies the concept of “sanitized supermarket”. The high rents demanded of traders and the constraint of being open for a good part of the week effectively exclude non-sedentary workers, who cannot pay full-time employees. “These are not markets open to everyone, because they exclude the popular clientele”regrets the president of the FNSCMF.