The Villeroys and the Bourbons,
occupants of an old house in Paris (1370 - 1671)
January 21 two postal entrepreneurs from Tours
Leon Pajot I (1625est - 1668) et Louis Rouillé (1630 - 1694)
buy from Nicolas V de Villeroy,
the old VB mansion in the heart of Paris.
As Villeroy was the tutor of Louis XIV
the 3rd Bourbon King had spend
parts of his childhood at the house.
In the 1670s Louis XIV
had moved to St Germain en Laye
where he prepared the future chateau de Versailles.
The Villeroy family,
advisors of the Bourbons
decide to follow him and to sell their historic house
in the center of Paris.
The father of Leon Pajot, Nicolas Pajot (1580est - 1640)
and the father of Louis Rouillé, Pierre Rouillé (1593-1657)
were already in the Postal business
which they operated from Tours.
The Pajot and Rouillé partners
now had the project
to build a much larger operation
located in Paris.
They called their company "La Poste".
The map shows the still existing Postal Building
on rue des Dechargeurs in Paris.
Rue des Bourdonnais also existed,
but rue des Halles or rue de Rivoli
were constructed two centuries later.
The son of Louis Pajot I,
Louis Pajot II (1647 - 1708)
and the daughter of Leon Rouillé,
Marie Anne Rouillé (1659-1694)
to continue the Postal Business.
The two families Pajot and Rouillé
connect as much as possible
all their children, sons or daughters in law
grand-children and cousins
were integrated into their postal service.
Louis Leon Pajot (1678 - 1754) was the common grandson
of both Louis I Pajot and Leon Rouillé.
The boy was very bright.
Not of good physical condition
he spend his childhoon with books.
Educated by the Jesuits he was very interested by science.
Travelling to the Netherlands he met some of the
most recognised scientist of their time;
Hughens, Ruysch, Boerhaave …
Upon the death of his father he became "Postmaster General"
and was in charge of the Pajot & Rouilé company.
His brothers Alexandre, Jean Baptiste, Francois, Antoine
and his sisters Anne Marie and Marie Anne
were also part of the Postal family.
Louis Leon Pajot brought the Pajot & Rouillé family
to a network of 900 post relais,
the most southern ones were located in Venice and Rome.
The "technology heart"
was the Cremerie de Paris
on the rue des Dechargeurs side
of the Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon.
A lot of negociations were involved in paying rent for post relais
and how to redistribute the postal fees between different operators
When Louis XIV (1638 - 1715) had an important letter
he was not trusting anybody
and he insisted to give the document to Louis Leon Pajot in person.
According to Johannes Thurn & Taxis
Louis XIV liked to visit the old VB mansion / Cremerie de Paris
he knew from his childhood.
If he was not feeling well Louis Leon Pajot
had to come see him at the chateau de Versailles.
signature of Louis Leon Pajot
on a letter from 1725.
Louis Leon Pajot was also called
Comte Donsenbray (Ons-en-Bray)
He has married to Princess de Galliffet Martigues.
Our old Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon was full of masterpieces
according to the legend even a David by Michelangel
was here at some time.
The sculpture was lost and nobody knows what has happened.
In case you do please contact the Cremerie ...
The Postal building (VB mansion) around 1736,
drawing from plan Turgot.
2nd Prince of Thurn & Taxis (1681 - 1740)
lived both in Brussels and Frankfurt
Thurn & Taxis operated
from the Thurn & Taxis Palais in Brussels
and from a newly constructed Palace in Frankfurt.
Their postal territory went from
the Dutch Netherlands to Germany, Austria
and Italy as well.
These countries were governed by the Habsburgs.
But there was nothing in France governed by the Bourbons.
Louis Leon Pajot needed Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis
and Thurn & Taxis needed Pajot
as mail exchange partners.
Their postal networks were not the same.
Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis and Louis Leon Pajot
were using horses
and their post relais to carry mail through their respective
postal networks in Europe.
Cremerie de Paris N°1, the home of the Phone Book of the World
was their connection point.
3rd Prince of Thurn & Taxis (1704 - 1773)
also knew the Pajot Rouille Poste
at the VB mansion / Cremerie de Paris.
1889 comes out the first Paris Phone Book
shown by Phone Book of the World Webdesigner
Louis Henri Schlumberger
1910s getting older Bell retires in Nova Scotia, Canada
He enjoys the company of many young friends,
all inventors. Bell finances their projects
and enjoys beeing part of them.
1921 a grandson of Dom Pedro II of Brazil,
visits Alexander Graham Bell.
In his company a young women that is extremly beautiful,
Aimée de Sotto Maior
During their visit Bell tells
all the "youngsters"
in the house
about his trip to Paris ... a long time ago 1881
The Exposition de l'Electricité where Werner von Siemens
showed him an electric tram,
Gustave Eiffel his Eiffel Tower,
the amazingly beautiful Les Halles foodmarket
an old Mansion full of fairytales, called VB.
According to history
once upon a time been the
of this fascinating place
transporting "messages" with postal carriages
all around Europe.
The place, a telecom landmark,
was now occupied by a cheese store
Cremerie de Paris
Of course all the young inventors
were fascinated by Aimées look.
Where ever Aimée arrived
she had the effect of a bombshell.
Bell gave her an adwise
she would never forget
"To stay young you need to have young friends"
1922 August 22 Bell died.
During his funeral all téléphonelines
in North America stop working.
The later grand-father in law
of the beautiful Brazilian girl,
John Wannamaker is among those to carry Bell's coffin.
One of the young inventors, Casey Baldwin,
will stay in touch with Aimée all his life.
20 years later he will become a great connection
for her getting impossible to get contacts in the US.
But what will be the future of the young woman ?
She is not tech saavy enough to become an inventor ...
sharing a friend
with Alexander Graham Bell
Young Aimée Sottomaior,
Johannes later 11th Prince of Thurn & Taxis
came in charge of the Thurn & Taxis fortune.
His above mentionned grandfather Albert
was always telling his young grandchildren
Johannes, Anselm, Gabriel Thrun & Taxis and Mathilde von Sachsen
about the fascinating postal adventures of their ancestors.
The picture was taken around 1950.
Johannes came to Paris during fashion week.
The editor of this article,
at the time a young student
was making some extra money working in fashion shows.
This is how he happened to meet
of the old postmasters.
Johannes had the most captivating stories
about his ancestor's adventures
operating Postal services ...
almost unbeleivable ...
for a student used to the "PTT",
Postes, Télégraphes et Téléphones
beeing a State owned Monopoly.
1986 May in Paris again
Thurn & Taxis showed the student a fascinating building,
The old Hôtel de Villeroy Bourbon,
the place where his ancestors Anselm Franz
and Alexander Ferdinand
had been 300 years earlier.
It was one of the Telecom hotspots
of the 17th and 18th century
and the only still exisiting major Telecom building
even the water fountain for the post horses are still in place.
Johannes Thurn & Taxis was a little astonished
the young student also knew about the exact same building,
but what the student knew were stories
linked to the Les Halles foodmarket
and they came from a great aunt from Russia
he had never met
The students stories were fairytales
that had nothing to do with Telecom ...
50 meters away from the old postal building
was a little Boutique with a sign "for sale" ...
Thurn & Taxis called the number on the sign right away
from a nearby cafe (mobil phones did not exit yet).
Hanging up the phone he told the young student:
"The price of this Boutique is
not even half
of what my wife spends on a cocktail dress.
I really enjoy that the
Telecom adventures of my ancestors
interest you so much.
"Telecom has been blocked by State monopolies,
one of these days these monopolies will fall
you will see the business my family once has invented
has a lot of future ...
At age 20 you have a lot of energy
and people will be surprised that you are still so young
I will help you ...
Find an idea
I will enjoy to follow the adventure ... "
1986 June the student (red cercle) was invited
to an extraordinary birthday party in Regensburg, Bavaria
at the Thurn & Taxis castle.
Many people were at the party,
the Begum Aga Khan also above picture,
Sao Schlumberger, Mick Jagger, Malcom Forbes
and Alexander Graham Bell's friend Aimée Sottomajor.
1986 July the student had the key of the little Boutique
in the heart of Paris
50 m from the old Postal Building ...
This was like jumping into water ...
The Telecom project was so captivating,
the student was no longer interested in studying ...
Knowing nothing about nothing
the Boutique took a bit of time to open.
An idea needed to be found
and the shop needed to be renovated ...
Well when you are 20 and you open a Boutique
in the center of Paris
a lot of adventures are waiting for you ....
Electrica for Sony, a little Boutique in Paris
The idea for the little Boutique
was to sell Sony Phones.
The phones could not be found anywhere in Europe
They were revolutionnary for their times:
Beautiful Phones includng an Answering Machines
or Cordless House Phones.
The only problem once the shippment
arrived from New York in September 1987
at the Charles de Gaulle airport
it was bloked by the customes authorities.
Desaster, un "douanier" explained that there was a French Law
forbidding importation of phones that were not "agrée PTT".
In fact the local PTT had a control over the market
and only French manufactures got the "agrée PTT" label.
The Boutique could not open
and there was no money left.
what to do now ?
Thurn & Taxis: "I could send you another Thaler
but this is not a good solution.
Think about all the difficulties the old postmasters had to handle
try to use this problem to find an idea"
As it was impossible to sell Sony phones
due to the PTT's Monopoly
the idea was to create a "Service Center"
for these iconic phones.
There was no law forbidding to sell 220V power adaptors,
batteries, phone connectors, repair service.
Very quickly the old Telecom genes
and the little Telephone Boutique took off.
The Sony power adaptors were little cash cows.
Soon Paris Match started to cover the store.
Telephone Lovers poored into the store, one of them was Lady Diana.
Another Sony Boutique opened accross the street.
The aura of the young Boutique came to the ears of Akio Morita
who used us as a "test leb" to check out how
"Paris" was reacting to his latest ideas.
August preparing another Sony Boutique
12 rue de la Ferronnerie (today Cremerie N°6)
Thurn & Taxis was impatient to come see it ...
but he died December 19.
There have been so many changes in the Telecom Industry,
one technology replacing another
sometimes people are surprised we are still there.
But when you have had the chance to get a Thaler
with centuries of history
coming directly from the old postmasters
you have the obligation to do everyting you can
to face turbulances
and find new ideas ...
screenshots our first website created in 1991
Working around Sony was a chance
as the Japaneese company was extremely creative.
Soon we discovered a new tool
to attract more clients to our shops.
Minitel, a French ancester of the Internet.
Our prehistoric 100 page website
just pulled Sony Lovers into the stores.
At that time it was one of the very first 100 pages website,
some screenshots still exist.
An unbeleivable opportunity came up.
The historic Cremerie N°1 was for rent.
The place was right in the postal building,
not next door, not opposit,
right on the spot.
We tried to get it but the owner was scared
to leave such a big place to people that were still so young.
Preference was given
to a large established furniture company
which did not work.
Again Cremerie N°1 came on the market
Again the owner was scared to rent us the historic building
but Aimée de Heeren had an idea.
"You should ask the landlord to buy the place
so that he has no risk with rent payments"
Sony adaptors, batteries, plugs,
connectors were little cashcows
but not enough to get a bank loan for such a big space.
Our young company had no financial background.
Thurn & Taxis
who would have bought the place immediately
was not there any more ...
His friend Aimée Sottomajor watched what we were doing ...
She knew our place since a long long time
not from the Postal stories of her friend Thurn & Taxis
but from someone elso.
Arriving in Paris as a secret agent for her country Brazil
she had fascinated
the fashion designer Coco Chanel.
Chanel loved our staircase
with a mysterious N°5 logo forged into the railings.
She knew it since 1920 taken there for the first time
by her old boyfriend Dmitri Romanov.
a little jewel from Coco Chanel
In the 1960s old Coco Chanel and Aimée de Heeren
used to do nightwalks through Paris.
The staircase of the old postal building
was their destination.
Before leaving this world Chanel left Aimée a little jewel
she had once received from her Russian boyfriend.
Aimée who had watched our Telecom Boutique adventures
from the very beginning
knew that both her friends Bell, Thurn & Taxis and Chanel
would have told her to "take action".
She decided to use the little jewel
(more than a cocktail dress)
so that a bank would finance the acquisition.
Cremerie de Paris N°1 boosted our Sony activities
The store worked from the day it opened
but soon new unexpected turbulances were on the way .
Cremerie N° in the old Postal Building
reinvented as the first Internet Cafe in Paris
The fortunes of Sony did not last,
Akio Morita the founder of the Japaneese company
and inventor of the Walkman stepped down from the company board
folling a heart attack.
Almost overnight everything changed
and very quickly new revenues needed to be found.
Thurn & Taxis was not there any more to help
but we remembered his lesson
of the difficulties the old postmasters had to face
always leading to new ideas.
Andre Dunstetter, a friend of Johannes Thurn & Taxis
advises us to look at ideas coming from America ...
The first idea was to sell American Phonelines
via a Callback system.
Before the liberalisation of the European voice phone markets
it was possible to bypass the expensive local phone rates
using a phonesignal coming from California.
Receiving a commision on phone bills new income building up.
Soon was added an internet cafe.
The first years of the cafe were difficult ...
not enough people were using internet,
not enough customers at the cafe.
Phone commission from California took time to build up.
Before beeing able to settle
a retirement pension fund send his huissiers
to collect delayed payments for social security charges.
As we could not pay fast enough
all the computers in the cafe were taken.
Things are not always easy in France ...
What would the old Postmasters have done ?
After closing the Cremerie for 3 days
Mum send the money to buy a new computer
Fnac provided us with a shopping card
buying two new computers payable in 24 monthly payments.
Another one was found in front of a "poubelle" (trash can)
It was not working, but with 4 computers
the cybercafe looked less poor than with 3.
One of our American Cybercafe clients
had watched the turbulences at the cafe.
The departure of all the computers
and the modest reopening.
He told us that Tech Hotspots
had to face turbulences from time to time
and he was glad that we had reopened ...
What we did not realise at the time was
that the visitor was the assistant of
the inventor of the "dot com" system.
The cafe got a new name "Cybercafe de Paris"
and we went to see every Hotel Concierge in the center of Paris
telling them that hey could send American clients
asking for something called "email acces" or "web-connection" .
Posters were the new decoration
The concierge of the nearby Meurice
and the Ritz send the most clients
as if they wanted to help us to survive ...
1997 / 1999
The cafe attracted American pioneers
desperately looking for web acces
while travelling through Paris.
Without realizing it we run into the most fascinating people.
Most were young,
very young and nobody knew who they were
or who they were going to become,
They might not have known it themselves.
Others were a little older
one the already mentioned assistant of Dr Jon Postel
inventor of the dot com system
he showed us how to register domain names.
One if the World's shortest Internet Domains,
a Two Letter .com
is in the hands of the Cremerie.
There are only 696 of them ...
VB matches the history of our old
Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon
Another one had been on the first flight to the moon.
From 1998 to 2005 we met him every year when he came to Paris.
Picture taken in the parc of Versailles, home of Louis XIV.
On the side the same Aimée Sottomajor / Aimée de Heeren
that appeared in 1920 with Alexander Graham Bell
and in 1986 with Johannes Thurn & Taxis.
Buzz Aldrin has something fascinating about himself.
He is very modest but in a 1000 years his name will
still be in the history books.
Interesting Documentary about
the first flight to the Moon
Time for a new Telecom idea
Phone Book of the World.
The internet domain
at the old postal building now an internet cafe
2000 january 25
The price was 35$.
The Phone Book of the World project
was entirely financed by the revenues of the internet cafe.
2000 june the first version of the website
went online ...
Here again Aimée, the already mentioned friend of Alexander Graham Bell,
About 80 years and many changes in technology
seperate the two images.
Aimée came for web lessons.
She was amused to tell people that were 40 years younger
and who were scared to use a computer,
that "of course" she was online.
As Bell had told her
Aimée liked to be with young people.
"To stay young, you need to have young friends."
Google created Google Analytics
providing us with free stats tools.
The website continues to be created from the exact same place.
Sometimes when programming webpages
we are watching the water fountain in our courtyard
and we think about the post horses.
It's as if the spirit of Telecommunication
of the old Postmasters
is still around ....
In this image showing our audience
you also have two pictures of our courtyard,
one is from 1699,
At the time
Louis Leon Pajot was 21
Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis 19,
The other one is from 2018,
319 years later.
Phone Book of the World visitors come from eveywhere,
and there are more visitors from New York,
Melbourne, Sydney and London
than from our hometown Paris.
Cremerie de Paris N°1 in the old Postal Building
reinvented as an iconic Pop Up Store Location
No more need for Cybercafes,
the old Postal Building has to be reinvented,
The idea was to convert it an expo center
to show new products and inventions.
Again the start is a little difficult,
but havn't the old postmasters
left us the lesson
that difficulties are there to find new ideas ... ?
Pop Up Stores
and Brand Expos
The different Cremerie de Paris
Pop Up Stores
N°1 - N°2
N°3 - N°4 - N°5 - N°6
N°7 - N°8 - N°9
2012 - 2018
constructing Marguerite de Navarre
a spectacular subway exit
building a new spectacular subway exit
Marguerite de Navarre
facing our Cremeries de Paris
and connecting them
to Europe's largest subway station Chatelet - les Halles
Redesigning our old rue des Halles / rue Déchargeurs
the picture shows the last big construction night
2018 july 12
2018 july 12 last nigh of an "endless" construction period
more pictures of the construction
While taking these pictures around our old postal gate
thinking about the crazy and funny stories
of the Post horses
that were leaving from our old gate 300 years ago
to carry mail to hundreds
of Pajot & Rouillet or Thurn & Taxis post relais.
According to Johannes Thurn & Taxis everything
was extremely well organised.
The horse coaches had a timetable that was the same every week.
Every monday 7 am mail left for Brussels
Every thuesday 7 am mail left for Frankfurt
Every wednesday 7 am mail left for Venice
... no phone, no electricity, no computer
Coming to our place reminded Louis XIV of his childhood,
sometimes Louis Leon Pajot
showed him the departure of the Post Horses.
Today the King would be amused to walk into
the always changing Pop Up Stores.
Some are so beautiful
they become part of the
long long history
of our Telecom Landmark in Paris.
Paris is hit my the Corona Crisis.
Every event is canceled.
What to do now ?
Time to remember the fascinating
Thurn & Taxis postal stories.
Wasn't this a opportunity to work on the "Spirit of Telecommunications"
we have inherited from the old postmasters ?
Looking at our Google Analytics stats account
a surprise is waiting.
It's a bit like discovering some gold coins
hidden under the rooth of your house.
Lots and lots of people connecting to some
almost forgotten domains registered a long time ago ...
Almost undevelopped Whitepages.in for India had more people
than our Pop Up Stores could ever receive ...
During the following weeks
and old painting made by Petr Brandl (1688 - 1735)
gets a few photoshop enhancements
fixing a half cut Posthorn.
Anselm Franz von Thurn & Taxis is added into the logo.
Anselm's great x 7 grandson Memo von Sachsen uses his artistic eye
to advise on different versions of the logo.
Thank you for reading this article
going through 349 years
of Telecom history
more Telecom history ... see also Thurn-Taxis.com