Hôtel de Villeroy (Paris, 1st arrondissement)

The hôtel de Villeroy, also the hôtel de Villeroy Bourbon or hôtel de la Poste, is a hôtel particulier, a type of large townhouse of France, at 34 rue des Bourdonnais, 9 rue des Déchargeurs, 17 rue des Halles (former rue de la Limace) in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It is a designated monument historique.

Hôtel de Villeroy
Hôtel de Villeroy (Paris, 1er arrondissement).JPG
Coordinates48°51′36″N 2°20′45″E / 48.8601°N 2.3457°E / 48.8601; 2.3457Coordinates: 48°51′36″N 2°20′45″E / 48.8601°N 2.3457°E / 48.8601; 2.3457
LocationParis, France
TypeHôtel particulier
Monument historique: PA00085842
Rue des Déchargeurs entrance to the Hôtel de Villeroy next to the Cremerie de Paris.


The hôtel de Villeroy is closely linked to the history of the Neufville family (Dukes of Villeroy) as well as the history of the Kingdom of France. The first of its buildings were erected circa 1370 on the rue des Bourdonnais side of its current location.

Under Nicolas the 4th of Neufville de Villeroy (who at the time was one of the most important ministers of the Kingdom of France) the building was elaborated, progressively becoming a center for literature. His grandson Nicolas Villeroy the 5th razed the existing buildings to rebuild them in 1640 keeping the existing cellars. The Villeroy family sold the building in 1671 to the Pajot & Rouillé family, known for their postal service business. Much later under ownership of the department store À la Belle Jardinière and in disrepair with an open pit exposed during development of the adjoining Les Halles (the pit then known as "le trou des Halles") the building space nearly became a large automotive parking lot. Thanks in part to the work of a concerned citizen the building was given monument status protection by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and subsequently renovated.

A key architectural feature of the building in the form of a grand staircase dating from 1640 has had its original character preserved. The building is one of the few remaining structures of the former aristocratic southwest Les Halles that during the late 16th and early 17th centuries became integrated into a dense network of bourgeois and common houses. It has a second entrance at 9 rue des Déchargeurs. At the time of its construction it bordered the rue de la Limace that was later razed to make way for the creation of the rue des Halles in 1868.

Nicolas V de Villeroy era, 1617-1671Edit

Marshal-duke Nicolas V de Neufville de Villeroy
Detail of the number 5 symbol featured at the bottom of the lower railing of the grand staircase
The grand staircase of the Hôtel de Villeroy.

The building was constructed in 1640 by the Duke Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy, the then Marshal of France. The name of the building's architect remains unknown to this day. Nicolas V de Villeroy was raised in the court of King Louis XIII. After the death of the King Nicolas V became a tutor for the new King the young Louis XIV starting in 1646.[1][2] The young King and his brother Prince Philippe of Orleans resided in the Royal Palace but they often went to the Hotel de Villeroy where they could play with the children of Nicolas Villeroy V, Catherine Neufville de Villeroy and François de Villeroy.

From this childhood spent between the Royal Palace and the Hotel de Villeroy a lifelong friendship formed between King Louis XIV and François de Neufville de Villeroy. Upon his passing King Louis XIV's will gave François de Neufville de Villeroy the role of educator for the King's great grandson King Louis XV.

Evidence of Nicolas V's former presence at the Hotel de Villeroy can be found in the number '5' forged into the still existing railings of the grand staircase. This staircase figured in some of the photos of the celebrated French photographer Eugène Atget.

Hôtel de la Poste era 1671 - 1738Edit

From 1689 to 1738 the Hotel de Villeroy housed Paris' first post office. The Royal French Postal services were operated by Leon Pajot and Louis Rouillé.[3] The Pajot & Rouillé family operated 800 "relais postaux" all over France. The most southern ones were located in Venice and Rome. Horses were carrying mail from the Hotel de Villeroy to the different relais. Mail was also exchanged with the postal services of the Thurn and Taxis family. The company was run by 3 generations of the family. Their grandson Louis Leon Pajot,[4][5] last "maitre des Postes", collected valuable scientific instruments which he left to the Académie des Sciences.

His International mail exchange partner was Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis who disposed of a Postal service in the Habsburg territories and who was based in the two (later destroyed) Postal Mansions: the Palais Tour et Taxis in Brussels and in the Palais Thurn und Taxis in Francfort.

Pajot & Rouillé became one of the wealthiest families in France but their Postal empire came to an end 21 mai 1738 upon a decision of King Louis XV to withdraw the postal license. After the French Revolution the story of the Pajot & Rouillé Post was forgotten in Paris, but it remained in the memory of the Thurn & Taxis family who did not want the same faith happen to their Postal empire.

Les Halles foodmarketEdit

During the time of the Halles de Paris the building was used to store food products and on the side of the rue des Déchargeurs was put into place a cremerie. The building today constitutes one of the largest 17th century structures in the center of Paris. Its courtyard links the two sides of the building found at 34 rue Bourdonnais and 9 rue des Déchargeurs. The building was classified as a historic monument in 1992. Today the building houses a number of inhabitants and businesses.

1986 Return of Telecommunications - Phone Boutique - Internet cafeEdit

Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis

Johannes 11th Prince of Thurn & Taxis and heir of Postmaster Anselm Franz 2nd Prince of Thurn & Taxis

was very interested in his families postal history. 1986 he came to Paris where he met a young student. He showed him the old Postal mansion, the Hotel Villeroy Bourbon and told him about his ancestor Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis coming from Brussels and Frankfurt by horse.

The idea came up to reactivate the Spirit of Telecommunications that according to Johannes Thurn & Taxis must have remained in the still existing walls. While the former postal palaces of the Thurn & Taxis Post in Brussels and in Frankfurt had been destroyed, the Hotel de la Poste / Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon in Paris was still around. The start was a small Phone Boutique located on 11 rue des Halles a few meters down the street (today Cremerie de Paris N°2). The Boutique was helped by a few Thalers Maximilian Karl, 6th Prince of Thurn and Taxis had received 1867 in compensation for the nationalisation of the families Postal Company, Thurn-und-Taxis Post.

Johannes Thurn & Taxis died 1990 but he left to the young student his passion for Telecommunications and a friend, Aimée de Heeren who had been a Secret Service agent during WW2.[6]

With the help of the phones and a little jewel left by Coco Chanel to Aimée de Heeren the student was able to get a loan to buy the historic Cremerie de Paris. Two hundred fifty five years after the departure of the postal services, communications returned to the Hotel de Villeroy. In 1993 the former "Cremerie de Paris", a milkstore located on the rue des Déchargeurs side of the Hotel de Villeroy became a Sony Technology center, eventually becoming one of the first[verification needed] Internet cafés.[7]

The Internet cafe opened at a time Hotels were not yet equipped with a web connection. American tourist that were already online had difficulties to find a connection in Paris. This brought them to the Internet Cafe located at Cremerie de Paris, Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon. Among them many Tech pioneers which would have been difficult to meet, like the assistant of Jon Postel, inventor of the .com domain system, an astronaute that had been on the first flight to the Moon and several young people now in charge of major US Technology corporations. Their influence contributed to several websites invented at the Hotel de Villeroy web cafe.

Phone Book of the WorldEdit

Phone Book of the World.com is a global Telephone directory still edited from the Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon. The roots of the directory go back to the times the mansion was the "Hotel de la Poste" (1671 - 1738) a place in the history of the Pajot and Rouillé and the Thurn und Taxis families.[8] The gate of the Hôtel de Villeroy Bourbon, on the 11 rue des Dechargeurs side of the monument, is visible on the homepage of the directory.[9] Phone Book of the World was created 2000, january 25.

White pagesEdit

Postmaster Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis part of the logo of many Whitepages

With the help of Aimée de Heeren who came to the internet cafe every week and who had met Alexander Graham Bell when she was a young woman, the expression "whitepages" was registered in over 50 different countries, a process which was very complicated during the early years of the internet as a local address or other requirements were needed in many countries.

The white pages for France, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Poland, India, Mexico, Taiwan and 40 other countries are now edited from the Hôtel de Villeroy, giving the old Paris Postal Building a unique place in telecom history.

The old postmaster Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis and his post horn are part of the logo.

Expos at Crémerie de ParisEdit

Crémerie de Paris is located on the rue des Déchargeurs side of the Hôtel de Villeroy at the corner of rue des Halles. For 100 years (1870-1970) it was a milk store connected to the Les Halles food market. In 1993 it was acquired by the little Electrica for Sony Phone Store located on 11 rue des Halles (today petite Cremerie de Paris). After having operated as an Internet café opened in the early years of the Internet, the Cremerie was converted into a brand expo center.

Many notable brands have organised Pop Up Stores and Pop Up Cafes (located at the opposite restaurant Gladines):

  • 2012 June "Nike Barber Shop"[10][11] organised by the US sports brand Nike.
  • 2012 September "Boutique Adopte Un Mec"[12] organised by the French dating site AdopteUnMec.
  • 2012 October Expo and Pop Up Store UGG Australia.[13]
  • 2013 June Motorcycle Expo organised by the British brand Triumph Motorcycles Ltd.
  • 2013 July Pop Up Store "G-Shock"[14] organised by the Japanese manufacturer Casio.
  • 2013 October Washing powder expo "My Omo Store"[15] organised by the Dutch-British food brand Unilever.
  • 2014 June Pokémon Center Paris.[16][17] Pokémon is the world's most famous video game company edited by the Japanese brand Nintendo. The co-inventor of Pokémon and video game composer Junichi Masuda came to the event. Fascinated by France and its history, he selected the Hotel de Villeroy to be the location for the first Pokémon store to open in Europe. The 3 week pop-up store has attracted a long waiting line going all along the rue des Déchargeurs and the rue de Rivoli.
  • 2015 February Renault presented the third version of the Renault Twingo car line at the Cremerie de Paris during a 2-week expo called "La verité sur les filles". The expo was animated by the French actresses Bérengère Krief and Nora Hamzawi.[18][19]
  • 2019 Nov Second Pokémon Expo organised by the clothing brand Celio.[20]

Most expos and pop-up stores have been accompanied by TV commercials and video clips visible in the Phone Book of the World giving the Hotel de Villeroy an international touch. The gate of the Hôtel de Villeroy can be seen in most films, as a sign of the very rich history of the building.

Movies filmed at Crémerie de ParisEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Childhood places of King Louis XIV
  2. ^ The State in Modern France
  3. ^ Book in French Historty of the Postal Services around the World / Histoire de la Poste dans le Monde by Camille Allaz
  4. ^ Louis Leon Pajot on French Wikipedia
  5. ^ Louis Leon Pajot page in the British Museum
  6. ^ History of the Thurn & Taxis family and links to the Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon / Cremerie de Paris
  7. ^ France's first Internet cafes at the Hotel de Villeroy, article in French
  8. ^ The Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon and the Telecom history of the Thurn & Taxis family
  9. ^ [https://phonebookoftheworld.com/ Phone Book of the World edited from the Hotel de Villeroy
  10. ^ Article by Ofive.tv about the Nike Barber Shop (archived version)
  11. ^ Article by Uglymely about the Nike Barber Shop at the Hotel de Villeroy
  12. ^ article by Golem about Adopt Un Mec showing the entrance of the Hotel de Villeroy
  13. ^ article about the UGG expo by Streetplanneur
  14. ^ Photo about the Casio G Shock
  15. ^ article by E-Marketing about the washing powder expo Omo
  16. ^ Pokemon Pop Up Store, Pictures and Videos by Cremerie de Paris
  17. ^ Pokemon Pop Up Store at the Hotel de Villeroy by Be Geek
  18. ^ "Twingo Pop Up Store and TV Commercial "La Verite sur les Filles" by The Automobilist". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
  19. ^ Twingo Pop Up Store by Cremerie de Paris
  20. ^ Second Pokemon Expo organised by Celio

External linksEdit