BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE

The Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris was first a royal and later an imperial library before becoming a national institution. Its mission is to collect and conserve all works published, whatever the media, with the purpose of making them available to researchers and professionals. Under French law, publishers must deposit several copies of the works they publish in the Bibliothèque Nationale. With a 12 million volume collection that includes Gutenberg Bibles and first editions from 15th century, the Bibliothèque Nationale is possibly the largest library in Continental Europe. Since 1996 the collection of the Bibliothèque has been moved on the new Bibliothèque nationale de France in the renovated Tolbiac quarter, and the historical Richelieu site is now used as administrative office and exhibition place.

LA BOURSE (PARIS STOCK MARKET)


The Bourse
The Bourse
The edifice was a corn storage and market place constructed between 1763 and 1767 by the architect Nicolas Camus de Mézières who was also in charge with the construction of the whole quarter. The building has been destroyed several times by fire. The corn storage activity has been given up 1873 and the renovated building transformed as solely commodity exchange place for a whole range of trade goods such as corn, sugar, rapeseed oil, cocoa… With the computerisation of the stock exchange market, the site has been abandoned and transformed in the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris (Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

THÉÂTRE MUSICAL POPULAIRE (OPÉRA COMIQUE)


Opéra comique
Opéra comique
Laughs and sobs have resonated at the Opéra Comique for 2 centuries. Originally built as the Comédie Italienne, it burned down twice in the 1840s and was finally rebuilt in 1898. It was here that Bizet’s Carmen first hitched up her skirts, cast a sweltering glance at the audience, and seduced Don José. With the new management the opera has changed its name and expanded to embrace all kind of musical theatre, including Broadway musicals and operettas.

TOUR DE JEAN SANS PEUR


Tour Jean sans peur
Tour Jean sans peur
Who is Jean Sans Peur (Fearless Jean)? He is the man responsible for the Hundred Years' War. His big mistake? Murdering Louis d'Orleans in 1407. Halfway up the tower where he used to live, you can find an enchanting vault encrusted with leafy greenery. The structure also houses the council of the duke of Burgundy. The vault of the large screw is one of the masterpieces of the French Gothic sculpture.

PLACE DES VICTOIRES

At the centre of this square is an equestrian monument. The statue represent a triumphant king (Louis XIV celebrating the Nijmegen Treaties. The original statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. The actual twelfth meter high equestrian monument is an artwork sculpted by François Joseph Bosio and commissioned by Charles X and represents Louis XIV, dressed as a Roman emperor. The design of the place (a ring of hôtels particuliers – private houses – with six converging streets) is a work of Jules Hardouin Mansart, who designed also the extensions of the Versailles Castle and invented the mansard roof.

PARIS BOURSE (PALAIS BRONGNIART)

The Paris’s Stock exchange had a rather frivolous beginning. Founded in 1724, it soon became a treasure chest for the Bourbon kings who enjoyed issuing worthless bonds to finance their taste for palaces and warfare. The Jacobins closed the exchange during the Revolution to fend off war profiteers. The building was ordered by Napoleon 1st, who was fond of all neoclassical things and loved the project of the architect Alexandre Théodore Brongniart. Brongniart died 1813 before the end of the building’s construction. The Bourse is by now a conference centre.