La Bourse – origins

Bourse sounds very French, but surprisingly it originated in West Flanders during the 15th century!

Main facade

Bruges was already a thriving trading city located at the junction of the Mediterranean and Baltic roads.

The inhabitants were not involved into trading, but the innkeepers started to act as brokers and financial agents for the foreign merchants they accommodated.

The Van der Buerse were one of these long established families of innkeepers.

Their inn, Ter Buerse, stood on the city central square.

The square became a money market, where brokers and merchants met at set times in order to follow the exchange rates announced by the leading commercial and financial centres.

Money-changers operated in national houses and acted on behalf of their country of origin.

Business was dealt with on Ter Buerse Square (as the square became eventually known), but moved inside the Ter Buerse Inn when it rained.

This elementary stock exchange was based on customary practice and there was no written record!

That said, the trading and financial influence of Bruges declined throughout the 15th century.

However, by then, most European big cities had developed their own stock exchange, which they logically named after the Ter Buerse (bourse, burse, borsa, bolsa and Börse).

Palais Brongniart

The historical building Palais de la Bourse de Paris was inaugurated on November 4, 1826; it opened in 1827.


La Bourse is also known as Palais Brongniart in order to pay tribute to its architect.

Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart indeed died 13 years before completion of his building!

The Palais de la Bourse was erected on the site of the Couvent des Filles-de-Saint-Thomas d’Aquin, a convent that became state property during the French Revolution.

The 69m by 41m rectangular building is a replica of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus in Rome.

It stands 2,60m above street level.

It is accessed by steps that lead to a 2,80m wide gallery supported by Corinthian columns; this gallery runs around the building.

Twenty-four columns adorn the main facades and forty the lateral.

Allegorical statues sculpted by the greatest artists of the time adorn the building’s corners: Justice by Duret, Commerce by Dumont, Agriculture by Seurre and Industry by Pradier.

Corinthian columns

Two gardens originally flanked the building; the two current wings were developed on their site between 1902 and 1907.

The architect Jean-Baptiste Cavese designed theses additional buildings that give the Bourse its current Latin Cross shape.

Most of the building is today classified Historical Monument.

The Paris stock exchange quotations have been fully automated since 1998 and became known as Euronext Paris in 2000.

It merged with Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels stock exchanges in September 2000 in order to form Euronext NV, the second largest stock exchange hub after London.

The Bourse overlooks the Place de la Bourse and Rue de la Bourse, which were respectively open in 1809 in 1933.

Directions: 2nd District
Metro: Bourse on Line 3
Coordinates: Lat 48.868648 – Long 2.341374

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