BHV MARAIS Celebrates 160 years ( September 13th 2016)
The Bazar de l’Hôtel-de-Ville (the “bazaar of city hall”) is located in the historical and fashionable Marais neighborhood. It is facing the Hôtel de Ville and it is served by the Metro station Hôtel de Ville.
Opened in 1856, four years after the “Bon Marché”, The Bazar de l’Hôtel-De-Ville is one of the very first department store of the capital.
In 1991, the BHV is bought by the Galeries Lafayette group.
In 2012 the bazar de l’Hôtel-De-Ville was rebranded BHV Marais.The Gallerie Lafayette group undertook major renovations in order to give a new identity to the store
The store slogan is “style as a lifestyle”.
The success story of François-Xaviel Ruel
Xavier Ruel was an ironmonger from the city of Lyon. In 1852, he decided to settle in Paris to seek fortune.
He recruited street vendors to sell his stock of hosiery and he noticed that the best selling point was in the city hall area.
Therefore, François-Xavier Ruel and his wife Marie-Madeleine decided to open a hosiery shop at the corner of rue de Rivoli and rue des Archives.
The anecdote (The stroke of luck !!)
In 1855, Empress Eugenie’s horses are racing right in front of his shop and Xavier Ruel quickly mastered them. His act of bravery was financially rewarded and he decided to expand his shop.
François-Xavier Ruel diversified in the hardware store and sale of toys and trinkets and acquired adjacent shops just two years after the opening of his business.
Xavier Ruel : A philanthropist
Department stores were popular in Paris during the second empire, the best known was “le Bon Marché” whose founder was Aristide Boucicaut.
Xavier Ruel took a close interest in social issues which will set him apart from his competitors.
In 1866, the bazar de l’hôtel-de-ville was the first store in Paris to offer labeled items sold at fixed prices and low enough to attract popular and middle class.
He created pension funds for his employees and a free clinic.
During the Paris Commune (revolutionary government) he distributed bread to the poor.
Fascinated by the 18th century, Comte Moïse of Camondo built a mansion in the style of the Petit Trianon in Versailles.His aim was to recreate an eighteen-century artistic residence.
The mansion houses a beautiful collection of french decorative art from the second half of the eighteen century.
The museum is located a few steps from Parc Monceau.
He entrusted the construction of his mansion to the architect René Sergent (1865-1927).
The mansion was built between 1911 and 1914.
Today, the house is maintained in its original condition so that you can have a perfect picture of what it was like to manage and live in a private mansion at this time.
The modernity of the private house is impressing for the time of the construction. It was fully equipped, functional and comfortable ( heating system with warm, filtered air, compressed air elevators…).
The mansion houses some of the finest furniture and items from the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI.
You can admire the creations of cabinetmakers and carpenters that belonged to the Royal furniture repository such as Oeben, Riesener and Jacob.
You will discover the carpets from the Savonnery factory commissioned for the Louvre’s grande galerie.
The collection also displays pieces of the Orloff silver service ordered by Catherine II of Russia, porcelain services of the Sèvres factory and portraits by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun.
The Camondo family
Moïse de Camondo was born in Istanbul into a Sephardic Jewish family.
The Camondo family owned a bank that became one of the largest banks in the Ottoman Empire.
In 1867, the family was ennobled by Victor Emmanuel II.
The Camondo brothers Abraham-Behor and Nissim settled in Paris at the end of the Second Empire, in two mansions on rue de Monceau.
The two cousins of the next generation, Abraham-Behor’s son Isaac and Nissim’s son Moïse, became ingenious collectors.
Moise was passionate about the french art of the 18th century and needed a home that suited his tastes to house his collection of french furniture and artwork. As a consequence he rebuilt the family mansion with the help of the architect René Sergent.
He married Irène Cahen d’Anvers in 1891 and they separated in August 1897.
They got two children: Nissim and Beatrice who lived with him after the departure of Irène Cahen d’Anvers.
The first world war breaks out as the hotel has just been completed.
Nissim, became an airman and died for France in aerial combat in 1917.
After the tragic disappearance of his son, Moïse bequeathed his legacy to the French State in memory of Nissim and devoted himself to his collection until his death.
During the second world war, the daughter of Moses, Beatrice, her husband Léon Reinach, and their children Fanny and Bertrand disappeared in the Nazi camps.
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