Lille's Old Stock ExchangeOld Stock Exchange
©Old Stock Exchange|Laurent Javoy - Hello Lille

Lille's Vieille Bourse legacy of commercial prosperity

The old stock exchange, built between 1652 and 1653 by Julien Destrée, is undoubtedly the city’s most beautiful monument. Its courtyard is home to bookshops and, on Sunday evenings in summer, tango demonstrations.

The origin of the Old Stock Exchange

In the 17th century, architects were subject to strict rules governing the height and quality of decor when constructing new buildings. The row of houses became fashionable and contributed to the creation of a new urban space, with a concern for order and a heightened decorative value. It was against this architectural and urban backdrop that the citizens of Lille, then Spanish, applied to King Philip IV of Spain for the right to build a Bourse de Commerce on the Grand Place. The general program organized 24 private houses around a public inner courtyard, bordered by a gallery.

A richly decorated building decorated

The eye is drawn to the infinite variety of caryatids adorning the pilasters. The same opulence is found in the decoration of the windows, with their sometimes curved, sometimes triangular pediments, adorned with cartouches, garlands and fleshy fruits, in the manner of the Flemish Renaissance. The Flanders lions sculpted on the portals are a reminder that Lille belongs to the Netherlands. Today, on all four sides of the building and above the second-floor windows, brightly-colored cartouches depict the coats of arms of contemporary companies that participated in its most recent renovation at the end of the 20th century.

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