During the 13th century there was a building called the Hotel de
Nesle, then it became the Hotel de Boheme and then the Hotel de Orleans. At one
point it belonged to King Louis XII, but losing the building to his chamberlain in a
cribbage game, it was converted into a convent. In 1572 Catherine de Medici moved
the convent out, and had the Hotel de la Reine constructed, which later then became called
the Hotel de Savoy. After that, there was a wheat market and the present rotunda
palace was then built in its place.
But to the south of the building you can still see a column, which is a 100 foot tall
vestige of the Hotel de la Reine, and it is believed to have been used by the Catherine de
Medici's astrologer Ruggieri as an observatory for star gazing and legend goes that he
still haunts the metal cage at the top.
But getting back to the palace that holds the Paris Stock Exchange, the architecture of
Palais Brongniart is majestic, impressive and imposing in its neoclassical style.
On the outside there are 64 columns in the classical Greek style that stand around ten
metres high and surround the structure like a Greek temple, plus there are statues on the
facade that represent Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, and then on the inside
you will see soaring arches that are in a Gothic style.
The Palais Brongniart was extended in 1909 and Salle de la Corbeille, which is a circular
room bordered with a railing, known as the Corbeille was added and this is the place where
the brokers used to meet and trade, as it was known as an open outcry exchange.
The open outcry exchange system was in operation at La Bourse de Paris until the late
1980s, when they started to implement a computer based system called the Cotation
Assist?e en Continu and by 1989 the electronic trading system was fully automated.
It was then in the late 1990's that La Bourse de Paris launched the Euronext initiative
that made an alliance with other European Stock Exchanges and in the Sptember of 2000
merged with Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon to form the Euronext NV, which is the second
largest exchange in Europe after the London Stock Exchange.
Obviously the architecture of the Palais Brongniart is a reason to visit La Bourse de
Paris, but because the whole system has become automated via computers there is not as
much atmosphere or as much to see these days as there used to be before the computer!
However, if arranged in advance you can still have a tour that lasts about an hour, and
you will also get to see the gallery on the first floor, that shows exhibits relating to
the architect of the palace and paintings depicting the past trading activities that
prevailed in the Corbeille when blackboards and chalks were used.
But so as people can get to understand the modern operations there are commentaries and
you can learn about the computerised trading, floor trading and much more, plus there are
occasional trade fairs that take place inside this historical centre.
Photography is not allowed at all inside the Paris Stock Exchange and it is more suited to
adults than children, who probably would not really have much understanding on the topic
La Bourse Palais Brongiart is only open on weekday afternoons but is always closed on bank
holidays and at weekends and you do have to make a reservation to see inside plus have
proof of identity with you. Yet even if you do not have this opportunity when you
are in Paris, just getting to see the outside of
this beautiful and impressive building is definitely worth the effort and the nearest
Metro station is the Bourse.
Address & Contact Details:
La Bourse de Paris
Ile de France
Telephone: 1 42 33 99 83