A unique place in the heart of Paris
1370 Nicolas Neufville
is a merchants at the Paris food market.
He buys an old building on rue des Bourdonnais.
The family, later called Neufville de Villeroy
ot just Villeroy invests their money into the education of their children
Nicolas IV de Villeroy (1543 - 1617) is very bright
1559 only 16 years old he becomes an advisor for Catherine de Medici, his wife Madeleine de l'Aubespine
and Medici organise a litterary cercle at our house.
Henri IV (1553 - 1610) employs Nicolas IV as minister.
According to the legend the king had a permanent room
at our Hôtel de Villeroy, so he could stay overnight
after a long evening of policitcal discussions.
VB for Villeroy and Bourbon becomes
a shortcut to talk about the house.
Nicolas IV de Villeroy (1598 - 1685) inherits
the house from his grandfather.
1640 he builds a new Hotel de Villeroy keeping the century old basments of the old one.
a touch of magic
1638 septembre 5 is born in St Germain en Laye
an heir to the throne of France.
The birth is considered a miracle as the parents
had already been married for 23 years.
1643 upon the deat of Louis XIII
the boy becomes Louis XIV, the 3rd Bourbon King of France.
1646 Nicolas V de Villeroy is designated to be his tutor.
The young Louis XIV (1638 - 1715) lived at the nearby Palais Royal
but he liked to come to our house as his tutor
had fun children to play with:
Catherine (1639 - 1707) and François (1644 - 1730)
They later moved with Louis XIV a a new house,
slightly larger, the brand new Chateau de Versailles.
Louis XIV's presence at our VB mansion
left some magic
that is still around today.
A long Telecom History
1671 january 21 two young entrepreneurs
Leon Pajot et Louis Rouillé bought
the Hôtel de Villeroy (VB mansion)
to start an avantgarde Telecom business:
The Royal French Postal Services,
ancester of the French State owned PTT.
Post coches carried mail from our house
to 900 Pajot & Rouillé post relais
around Italy and France
and to the postal centers of the Thurn & Taxis family located
in Brussels and Francfort.
Their grand-son Louis Leon Pajot (1678 - 1754)
and Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis (1681 - 1739)
were key people in Europe's Postal system.
Uncountable historic documents were transiting
through our house.
When King Louis XIV had really important documents
Lousi Leon Pajot had to come in person
to pick them up at Versailles ...
1717 White travelling to Paris
the Russian Tsar Peter the Grand came to visit
Pajot to admire his collection of scientific instruments.
End of Two Telecom stories
1738, may 14 Louis XV, suffered from jealousy.
and withdrew the Pajot & Rouillé post liciense,
but he did not have the power to take it
from the Thurn & Taxis
based outside France in Brussels and Francfort.
Maximilian Karl von Thurn & Taxis (1802 - 1871),
1867, july 1 the sate of Prussia nationalised
the Thurn & Taxis Post, ancestor of the German PTT
but 3 million German thalers had to be paid in compensation.
One of these thalers would 119 years later
come to Paris, rue des Halles ...
Albert von Thurn & Taxis (1860 - 1952) transmits the stories of the families post adventures
to his grandsons Johannes et Anselm.
Our VB mansion was part of them.
Albert knew them from his mother Helene in Baveria,
daughter-in-law of the last postmaster Maximilian Karl Thurn & Taxis.
Albert's aunt Sissi of Austria (1837 - 1898) and his uncles Ludwig of Bavaria (1845 - 1886)
and Paul Thurn & Taxis (1843 - 1879)
were more fascinated by the legends around Louis XIV
than by the ones around the postal service.
According to Albert, the grandfather of Johannes,
King Ludwig II came to our VB mansion back in 1867.
At that time the construction of our rue des Halles wasn't finished.
Too bad King Ludwig II did not take pictures, until now we never found any images of the construction,
but maybe one day we will discover one in a Bavarian castle.
He returned in 1874
(a month after the invention of the phone by Alexander Graham Bell) seeing the Cremerie functioning as a "Cremerie" (cheese store).
It is possible that the magic of the Cremerie
and the spirit of Paris contributed a little to
the fairy tale palaces Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee?
Ludwig II was named after
Louis XVI , godfather of his grandfather Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Louis XVI was the gret gret grandson of Louis XIV.
1952 Johannes Thurn & Taxis inherited the Telecom fortune from his grandfather Albert.
Like Albert he was very cultivated and he knew his family's history better than an encyclopedia.
His stories would later create a link between the Telecom activities
of the old Thurn & Taxis Postmasters
and the not yet invented Phone Book of the World.
Return of a Telecom story
1986 when travelling to Paris
Johannes Thurn & Taxis (1926 - 1990) loved to come
to the unconventional area of Châtelet les Halles.
He enjoyed talking to young students
in the cafes, the Maison Rouge (today Cremerie N°7),
Bistrot des Halles or the no longer existing Cafe Costes.
One of them (now editor of this website)
was captivated by the entrepreneurial spirit
of the old Thurn & Taxis that carried mail with horses
between their post relais and our house in Paris, unbeleivable postal stories,
that happened - centuries ago.
The T&T story started in Cornello in the Italian alps
with Francesco Tasso / Franz von Taxis (1459 - 1517)
who set up a postal route to Brussels.
Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis (1681 - 1739)
used to go to the VB mansion
opposite the cafe, on the other side of the street
(today Cremerie N°1).
No Thalys, no TGV no ICE trains, Anselm Franz
was using horses.
It was a 44 h trip in the summer and 55 h in the winter
with one or two nights sleep in between.
Spirit of telecommunications had stayed in our walls
and in the mind of the Thurn & Taxis family.
Above pictures were taken in 1986 / 1987
one in the living room of the T&T Regensburg Castle,
the other one in front of the just opened Cremerie de Paris N°2
The woman in the first picture that looks in her 50th,
Aimée de Heeren will be in the next articles.
The young woman Emannuelle Faucheux became a casting director.
The T&T stories were so crazy & funny
that they must have woken up
the sleeping Telecom genes of our old old building.
Thurn & Taxis had nobody as much interested
in his never ending Telecom anecdotes ...
Whenever there was some time conversation
went to the post legends.
While his family's Postal Palaces in Brussels and Francfort had been destroyed
the old Hôtel de Villeroy / VB mansion was still around,
... pratically unchanged.
Walking around the VB mansion
Thurn & Taxis was fascinated to feel the spirit of the old postmasters.
And he was amused the student also knew about the same place,
but what he knew had nothing to do with Telecom
his stories came from Russia (see next article) ...
A few weeks later, summer 1986,
a small Boutique, once a milk store at the foodmarket,
was for sale next to the old Postal Building (today Cremerie N°2).
A cariatide of Empress Eugenie is above the facade.
Thurn & Taxis pushed the student to open the store,
not as a milk but as a phone store ...
"You should go into the business my family once started ... Telecom.
Here is the equivalent of one thaler
so you have someting left by the old Thurn & Taxis postmasters
that will help you to start,
get the place and you see with the energy of this spot
things will just happen and come to you."
Well when you are 20 and you open a shop in Paris
a lot of adventures are waiting ...
Everything started with Sony answering machines
and cellular home phones:
IT A 550 or SPP 150.
Banned by the French PTT
holding a monopoly over the market
it was impossible to sell them in Paris.
1990 state owned PTT took us to court
to close down the Boutique as the phones were not "agrée".
Lawyer Laurent Salem saved us as there was no law
prohibiting repair service.
So we launched the fashion of bringing home to France
these wonderful electronic miracles
when travelling to Asia or the US.
Soon Paris Match talked about the Boutique
which came to the ears of Lady Diana
walking into our doors when visiting Paris.
The beginning of a new Telecom adventure
later resulting in the Phone Book of the World ...
Les Halles Centrales imagined by Eugenie
1811 Napoléon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) already had the project to renovate the century old Paris Les Halles food market,
but only decades later his nephew
Napoléon III (1808 - 1873), President of France in 1848
and Emperor in 1852 was able to realise the project.
The new market of the Halles Centrales
with the Pavillons Baltard, Rue des Halles
and the Cremeries (in red circles)
would never have become the world's most beautiful
food market, if a woman had not interfered in the project.
The woman was the Emperess Eugenie,
Eugenie de Montijo (1826 - 1920),
a true fashionista that was fascinated by Decorative Arts.
She influenced her husband Napoléon III,
the Baron Haussmann and the architecte Victor Baltard
to completely review the entire project.
She wanted the pavillions to be all in glass and steel
as she knew from Queen Victoria's Crystal Palace in London.
Every little detail needed to be "Very Beautiful"
Eugenie was fascinated by the history of the old VB mansion.
Under no circumstances she wanted it to be destroyed
by the construction of her new Halles Centrales foodmarket.
To preserve it Eugenie asked Hausmann and Baltard
to review their plans
the axe of the future "rue des Halles" needed to be changed.
This is how in an telluric angle
at the corner of the old Rue des Déchargeurs
and the brand new rue des Halles
in the corner of the VB mansion / postal building
opened the legendary Cremerie de Paris N°1.
(today home of the Phone Book of the World)
A few meters away 11 rue des Halles
a cariatide immortalises Empress Eugenie
above our Cremerie de Paris N°2.
A story that went away
(une histoire qui est partie)
Eugenie did not have much time to admire the constructions
realised with the contribution of a multitude of her artist, scupture and architect friends.
1870 Attacked by Otto von Bismark's Prussia
Eugénie was forced to leave France
to live in the UK where Queen Victoria gave her exile.
1873 Eugrnie looses her husband
followed by her only child killed in Africa.
She is all alone.
1880 Eugénie meets a little girl, that had lost her mother
and that grew up with her grandmother Queen Victoria.
Alix Hessen (1872 - 1918) becomes her friend
and in the evening Eugenie tells the child
fairy tale stories of the Paris les Halles foodmarket,
a place she had constructed ...
In the cheart of the foodmarket
the VB mansion with a Cremerie de Paris
where centuries ago Louis XIV used to play as a child.
To keep the stories for them, Eugenie and Alix
used a code: "VB"
1884 Alix now 12 yeas old falls in Love with a Russian
1894 Alix marries him and becomes the last Tsarina of Russia
1896 Alix travells to Paris, on her visit she laid the foundation stone for the Pont Alexandre III.
One evening, eclipsing from the protocole
she discovers that the Cremerie of her childhood stories still existed.
Eugenie's Les Halles foodmarket is even more
beautiful than she had imagined ...
Transmitting the story
The Tsarina repeats the fairytales to her her own children:
Olga, Tatjana, Maria, Anastasia (1901 - 1918) et Alexei (1904 - 1918).
The pictures go back to 1910.
There were also the children of her brother Ernst Ludwig
married to Eleonore Solms, Eleonores nieces and nephiews
and Dmitri (1891 - 1945) . Dimitri was a young cousin of her husband
who had lost his parents
and who for a whild had grown up with her sister Ella
also married in St Petersburg.
The children rebaptised VB from
"Villeroy Bourbon" to "Very Beautiful"
1918 july 17 the Tsar, the Tsarina and all their children are
killed by the Bolsheviks.
Dmiti is able to escape through Iran.
Outside Russia the German children are safe.
Some of them were able to transmit
Eugenie's fairy tales about the Cremerie de Paris.
Transmitting the story
Carl (1903 - 2003) et Friederike (1905 - 1995) were those
among the inner cercle of the Romanov children that survived everything,
WW1, the Russian Revoltion, WW2
1970s, Half a century later they are still there
and from time to time they their great-nephiew Ben
and their grand-niece Cynthia
completely crazy & funny stories:
about a wild cousine Anastasia
that later inspired a multitude of filmmakers
their aunt Alix that had stunning jewels
a strange monk called Rasputine,
grand style receptions in St Petersburg
and a magical milk store in France,
the Cremerie de Paris ...
At the time the little boy did not realise that his two
"baby sitters" were probably the only people still alive
that had been in permanent contact with the Tsar.
The stories were so fascinating the little boy
wanted to know if this Cremerie de Paris was still around ...
1980 he travels to Paris searching for them.
What a deception the beautiful fodmarket was replaced
by a hideous shopping center
(the now dismantled first Forum des Halles)
The main Cremerie de Paris was all closed up with
but the courtyard was just as magical
as described in the Russian stories ...
1983 a school exchange program makes it possible
to come to France
1986 a small phone store opens at Cremerie N°2
(see previous article Telecom)
1992 / 1993 Cremerie N°1 is for rent,
but how to find financing
in a country like France where
at the time everything was very difficult for young entrepreneurs.
We would have needed a two or three more
"thalers from the old postmasters",
but unfortunately Thurn & Taxis who would have loved
the project was no longer around.
From the Romanov fortunes
there was nothing left,
not a single ruble
exept ..... a bit of magic
the magic was called Aimée Lopes / Aimée de Heeren
(her picture is already in the previous Telecom article)
she also knew the Cremerie
from another friend
that had died two decades before
and that also had links with Russia ...
Chanel in the history of the Phone Book of the World
1918 Dmitri, the oldest of the children
escapes from the Bolchevics leaving Russia via Iran.
1919 Dmitri Romanov arrived in Paris and wanted to know if the Cremeries described in the stories
of the Tsarina still exited.
They were someting left still linking him to his childhood.
Transmitting the story
1920 Dmitri Romanov (1891 - 1945) showed the Cremerie de Paris
to Coco Chanel (1883 - 1971).
Chanel was fascinated to find her magic
forged centuries ago
into the iron railings of a staircase
that has seen all the Bourbons, Kings of France.
Chanel fell in Love with both
Romanov and the Cremerie.
What remained from their story is a small jewel
that survived the revolution
and the perfume N°5.
Romanov designed the first bottle
and locates in the South of France
Ernest Beaux a French Russian perfumer
from St Petersburg that had settled in Grasse.
When Romanov and Chanel arrivent in the South
Beaux had prepared different samples,
Chanel has no hesitation ... she picked the 5th one.
The World's most famous perfume was born ...
Transmitting the story
1938 arrives in Paris a young woman from Brazil.
Aimée Lopes, is so exceptionally beautiful
all of Paris falls in Love.
Nobody imagines she is a secret agent
directly missoned by the president to find information
about the preparing war.
Chanel wanted to be her friend
and showed her the Cremerie de Paris.
1939 Aimée meets a young American,
Joseph Patrick Kennedy
and follows him to New York.
They had projects to conquer the White House,
but it's the younger brother that won the race.
1960 time had passed ...
After years in Lausanne Chanel is back to Paris
Aimée et Chanel meet again.
Chanel suffered from loneliness and insomnia.
Getting old most of her friends had died.
They have the idea to meet
for night walks trough Paris.
Both live around place Vendome.
Les Halles food market, full of life all night,
is walking distance.
The staircase of the Cremerie is becomes their
to get some inspiration and to talk about
1971 before leaving this world Chanel gave
Dmitri's jewel to Aimée.
1986 through her friend Thurn & Taxis
already mentioned in "Telecom"
Aimée de Heeren meets the young student.
Little by little the student replaces Chanel
for Aimées night walks.
He does not realise that Aimée
was much older than he imagined.
The power of a jewel
1992 again 1993 Cremerie N°1 was for rent,
but impossible to get a bank loan.
Aimee pushed the former student
to try everything he possibly could to rent the store.
But France is not America.
Even though the little Phone Boutique was booming,
not enough garanties.
The landlord is too scared to rent to peoples so young ...
1993 Aimée decided to use the small jewel
Dmitri Romanov had once left to Chanel,
as if Gabrielle had told her
"you need to help continue the story".
With the result of the sale Deutsche Bank
accapted to give a loan
not to rent but to buy the legendary Cremerie
which turned into another Sony store.
Sony fortunes didn't last
but something else still unknown at the time
was already on it's way
and some years later was invented
the Phone Book of the World
you are using right now ...
A long Telecom Story
1993 Akio Morita founder of Sony
and inventor of the Walkman has a heart attack,
shortly after the acquisition of Cremerie N°1
he withdraws from the Sony bord.
Links with Sony are getting difficult.
1995 Someting new needs to be invented ...
selling phone lines for an American Long Distance Carrier, MTC Callback from Petaluma.
little by little the Sony Boutique
becomes an Internetcafe.
Commissions on Callback phonebills and web cafe users
replace revenues from Sony sales.
But the Internet cafe is ahead of time,
not enough people,
1998 the first computers are taken away by
a caisse de retraite
that doesn't want to wait for late social security charges.
meeting American Pioneers
while US travellers are already online,
Paris Hotels are not yet connected
sending to us web users
asking for such strange things as "email" or "websearch"
Most visitors were young
and we have not realised who they were
or who they were going to be ...
Maybe at the time they
they did not know it themselves ?
Some were already a little older
- one was the assistent of a certain Dr Jon Postel,
the inventor of the .com system
He told us to try register Two Letter domains.
- one was on the first flight to the moon
- and one had once been a friend
of the inventor of the phone
Alexander Graham Bell
well the last one it's the same Aimée de Heeren
already mentioned with the Chanel jewel.
1999 / 2000 Under their influence was invented the
Phone Book of the World
2000 Cremerie de Paris as a Cybercafe
2005 End of the Cybercafe
With more and more free Wifi and Smartphones
time of Internet cafes are coming to an end ...
A bad decision is taken ... rent out the beloved Cremerie
A decision that turns into a desaster.
The tenant, a large corporation
starts unautorised constructions, completely destroys
the place. There is no more floor.
Realising they had done a mistake
the place is abandoned
anticipating we would get our of business so they don't need to pay.
For years the Cremerie remains abandonded.
2006 Aimee de Heeren passes away ...
It's only a few days before leaving this world
Aimée lifts her best kept secret,
her real age
... unbeleivable she was not 40 years younger than Chanel but only 20
which meant she wasn't born in 1923
but in 1903
almost as old as our aunt Anastasia Romanov
exept that she had grown up without electricity
What to do now ?
Our beloved Cremerie sits there as un "chantier abandonné"
just looking terrible
3 years go by
time to realise a bit of all the historic
connections of the Cremerie.
finding more and more pictures & documents
reconnecting the building
with the crazy & funny
Romanov, Thurn & Taxis, Chanel and Aimee de Heeren stories.
A wonderful lawyer, Corinne Fajgenbaum
fights an impossible to win courtcase
facing a company with unlimited financial and political power.
She waits until the very end to get paid.
2010 October 15 we have access again
to the beloved Cremerie de Paris,
but there is a problem.
The just renovated store has a new staircase
that does not match security regulations.
Impossible to rent the lower floor ...
(une histoire qui est revenue)
VB Pop Up Stores
2010 december 15 the first client, Bauer USA
books the Cremerie on the internet.
With the downpayment it is possible to buy
some of furniture.
People from the neigborhood are surprise,
are't you the guy from the Cybercafe, or from Sony ?
2011 april a settlement is paid by the
the large corporation,
with the funds the Cremerie can be renovated.
2011 may change of President in France.
Nike discovers the Cremerie
for a global TV Commercial "My time is now".
For 3 weeks the Cremerie becomes
a spectacular Nike Barbershop.
Nike is follwed by other hi profile events,
Adopte Un Mec, Swiss Cheese, UGG Australia
2012 a new problem ...
the city of Paris builds a new subway exit.
The construction is extremly noisy & dusty ...
and it takes forever
How to survive it ?
normally at least one little Chanel jewel
would have been needed to make it the end of each year
Mission Impossible ...
2016 the editor of this website
on the new giant subway staircase,
Europe's largest subway exit still under construction.
Meeting place of the World's
most famous brands
again a little bit of magic was needed ...
in such a case only magic can help.
This time Coco Chanel could not send another jewel.
But she send something else
her "ongoing aura" that had a mysterious attraction
on the decision makers
of some of the Worlds most famous brands.
When talking to the inventor of the Pokemon
organising an event at the peak of the construction
he explained to us.
"I heared about the Cremerie in Japan
and of course I wanted to come to the place
that has been a secret destination for Chanel.
Please tell me more about her ...
I have the impression you have known her personally,
but you are not old enough ?".
Others prefered Louis XIV,
the old Postmasters,
Empress Eugenie or the Romanovs ...
The Lady in this picture taken during the construction
right in between the Cremeries october 2016
is another "living history book".
Nathalia Brodskaya helped us to find the
most interesting connections of the Cremerie
to modern artist like Vincent van Gogh.
Since the times of the Soviet Union
she is in charge of Russia's modern art collection.
Her office is the former bureau of Anstasia's father,
now the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
We have the chance that she comes to Paris twice a year
transmitting to the Cremerie some of her unbeleivable knowledge .
also helping ...
And there was a lot of help from some
Top Ad Consultants like Guillaume Rioufol, Fanny Rossi,
Mathilde Toquenne and the very original
Helene Falandry from London
They directed impossible to meet brands to the Cremerie.
François Linh Hoang, Adrien Lebon,
Thierry Bisseliches, Chloe Lumbroso, Antoine Leca,
Maud Dronet and Mina Vandôme
imagined the most beautiful expo setups.
And while the almost endless construction was going on
we were able to add
Cremerie N°3, N°4, N°6, N°7 et N°8
and it's advertising the revenues
have also helped
thank you for using it !!
2017 after endless delays, May 5, 5am
finally opened the new subway exit,
as is Chanel had choosen the date.
While more spectacular Pop Ups arrive
at our Cremeries,
our Phone Book of the World
has also become a "vitrine"
for our expos.
You can also find them on the cover
of some of our country Phone Books:
The magic of the little Louis XIV, the Romanov children, Gabrielle Chanel
and all the cool people in our history
continue to attract fascinating firms
to come set up
Pop Up Stores and Brand Expos.
Cremerie de Paris
turning into a meeting place of
some of the World's
very beautyful brands ...