Since the 13th Century, this has been the location of the Hôtel de Soissons, part of the estate of the royal family. In 1572, during the construction of the Tuileries Palace, Catherine de Medici suddenly took up residence there. The legend tells of how her fancy for the place had been foretold in a prediction. Her ability in activities involving the ‘occult’ was borrowed from the widow of Henry II, and this can be witnessed in the Medici column that is always in place – she had this built so that her astrologer Cosimo Ruggieri could scrutinise the stars.
At the time of her death, Catherine left large debts and a complicated inheritance. Her creditors settled these debts by obtaining the grounds of the Hôtel de Soissons, which were duly demolised in order to make way for a grain hall that was constructed by the architect Nicolas le Camus de Mézières in 1767. The new building was a response to the need for stocks of grain to be stored as they arrived from the Seine River – the location also acted as a central point for trading. In the middle of the 19th Century, this building was made obsolete.
A fire followed, and a repeat blaze led to the permanent closure of the hall. The building was then rebuilt and it became the stock exchange. It had gained a beautiful cupola made from iron and glass. It was the Paris home of financial markets until 1998. The Paris Chamber of Commerce is the current occupier of the building.