• Since the adoption at first reading of a bill on January 28, 2021, businesses of more than 1000 m2 are strongly encouraged to reserve an hour of calm for people with autism.

  • 20 Minutes

    went Tuesday morning to the Forum des Halles in Paris, for the first silent hour.

  • The contrast is not obvious, and the decibels are only slightly reduced for the moment, but the initiative appeals to the merchants and employees interviewed.

It is not obvious or obvious, but for regulars and regulars of the place, there is something special this Tuesday morning at the Forum des Halles in Paris (renamed Westfield Forum des Halles in 2019).

“There is less light.

And no music.

It's calmer.

It makes a difference, ”says Jean-Claude, a security and reception officer.

Because we landed in full "silent hour", the first of a long series.

Since the adoption at first reading of a bill on January 28, 2021, businesses of more than 1000 m2 are strongly encouraged to reserve an hour of calm for people with autism.

This device includes stopping music and announcements for an hour, here between 10 and 11 a.m. every Tuesday, as well as reducing the noise of electrical appliances in stores and installing dimmed lights.

" This is just the beginning !

»

It was a long-standing request from associations specializing in autism, which Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the company that manages the Forum, is now working to apply.

The entire part around the "patio" is concerned, i.e. 13,600 m2.

“We have a real responsibility in favor of our communities,” argues Olivier Delamarre, Unibail's shopping center director.

In Ile-de-France, eleven centers of the group have started to set up this system this week.

At the Forum des Halles, the lighting has been reduced by a third and the music is off, which gives three decibels less, in other words, not a revolution.

Probably also because the shops have not yet followed.

“We're starting our little tour with our pilgrim staff, it's only the beginning!

warns Hugo Rey, the center's director, who announces four starting brands out of 150.

“We start next Tuesday!

»

At Yves Rocher, the store manager ultimately did not follow the initiative, because, say the two saleswomen we met, of the standards imposed by the brand.

"But we have to discuss it again," say the employees.

They will not be able, in any case, to make less light, because on this side, it is all or nothing.

Ditto at Celio, where the store spits out rap, an atmosphere rather punchy than subdued.

Ludovic, the director, is not aware of the initiative, but he welcomes it with open arms.

" It's a good idea !

If it's only one hour, that doesn't bother me.

I can mute the music.

We start next Tuesday!

“, he enthuses.

On the other hand, the lights are spread over two blocks, and cutting one of the blocks would be like plunging half the store into darkness, so it's no.

At a time when the city is still waking up, “the silent hour” soothes the nerves, and perhaps not only autistic people.

"This can encourage other audiences to come," wants to believe Olivier Delamarre.

“Today we do an hour, tomorrow we will do a morning!

“, predicts Hugo Rey.

And who knows, maybe one day we will hear the birds singing, through the canopy...

Portraits of autistic people by photographer JR

In addition to this "silent hour", the Forum des Halles has taken another initiative against autism.

A hundred portraits of people with this disease are on display under the Canopy, until April 9.

The exhibition "We are all different" presents black and white photographs by the artist JR, which deploy a whole palette of emotions.

A way to mark the occasion for World Autism Day, April 2, 2022.

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  • Trade

  • Mall

  • Autism

  • Shopping

  • Ile-de-France

  • Paris

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