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 synonym for our house.
Nicolas V de Villeroy (1598 - 1685) inherits
the house from his grandfather Nicolas IV.
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 death 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 de Villeroy (1639 - 1707)
and François de Villeroy (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.
Telecom since 1671
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 great-great-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 was much older than anybody beleived.
She would later become the link
between Chanel and the not yet reopedened Cremerie N°1.
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.
He was captivated the student also knew
about the exact same place,
but what he knew had nothing to do with Telecom
his stories came from Russia (see above) ...
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 ...