Palais Brongniart

During the Middle Ages, Parisian financial transactions used to take place on the Pont au Change. The expansion of commercial activities, in particular the slave trade during the 18th Century, fanned the fire of growth and speculation. However, when the bankruptcy of banker John Law ruined the country in 1720, Louis XV decided to apply regulation to the exchanges. In 1724, he created the first stock exchange in Paris, and it was situated at the Hôtel de Nevers. This was located close to the Palais-Royal, and it was based on the model laid out by the London Stock Exchange. In 1807, Napoléon I ordered new building works that matched the image of his ambitions – grand, surrounded by columns on the outside, and the interior had an abundance of gilt. Alexandre Théodore Brogniart, a master of neoclassicism, had already built a number of fine Parisian hotels, and he also came up with the concept of the Père-Lachaise Cemetery. The same man was made the architect of the palace, but unlike the Emperor he didn’t get to experience the inauguration in 1826. One of the rules of the stock exchange created by Louis XV stipulated that women were not allowed access – this rule was changed in 1967. The Palais Brogniart remained as a major global financial centre for a century and a half. Computers and Information Technology rendered it obsolete in 1986, and in 1987 it was added to the list of national historic monuments.

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