The hôtel Gaillard is one of the most extravagant private house built in Paris in the second half of the XIX century.
Emile Gaillard, son and grandson of bankers, was also one himself ; a great art-lover he had this
mansion (inspired by the château at Blois) built to house his
collections. It was inaugurated in 1885 with a fancy-dress ball to
which over 2000 guests were invited. Covering roughly 1600 square
metres, it cost 11 million francs at the time (€44 million today).
Put up for sale in 1904 on the death of Gaillard, there were no
takers despite the asking price being lowered from 3.5M to2M. It was
eventually bought by the Banque de France in 1919 of which it became
a branch office. This is now closed and a decision is awaited as to
its future use.
Do take time to look
carefully at all the details – chimneys, guttering, grotesque
heads, etc. so as to get some idea of what an amazing building this
is and why it is a listed historic site.
Bank of France was founded in 1800 as a limited corporation and listed on the Stock Exchange as soon as 1802. The Bank was headed by a board of 15 directors called "Régents" elected by the general assembly of shareholders. In 1806, the government decided that the Bank, although private would be managed by a Governor and two vice-governors appointed by the State. However general
policy of the Bank was still fixed by the board of Régents. In 1936, Régents were replaced by 20 councillors (18 appointed by the State and 2 elected by shareholders). In 1945, Bank of France was nationalized and shareholders received State bonds as a compensation.