Let’s discover the history of 47, an emblematic place for Pierre Frey who, after starting out on rue des Jeûneurs, moved to 47, rue des Petits champs in 1937 and never moved again.
Giovanni Battista Lulli
The adjoining buildings at 45 and 47 rue des Petits Champs were built between 1671 and 1682 on behalf of Giovanni Battista Lulli, superintendent of royal music. Built by the king’s architect, Daniel Gittard, a student of Louis Le Vau. These two buildings are located near the Louvre and the Palais-Royal where the Royal Academy of Music is located.
It first served Lulli as his main residence. Looking up, we can still note some decorative elements of the façade that remind us of the activity of its illustrious owner.
Lulli rented it for 1600 French Pounds a year. An adviser to the king in parliament, the Baroness of Thoré and even the Marquise de Saint-Germain Beaupré, reportedly resided there.
Optical illusion of the stonework
The façade is characteristic of the most beautiful classical architectures of the 17th century. Made of ashlar, it extends over five visible levels and the last one slightly recessed. The first level consists of a trompe l’oeil of stonework, a reminder of the first level of Lulli’s main residence and the most beautiful Florentine palaces of the Quattrocento. This practice was common in the 17th century. The false joints were painted in a slightly darker colour to give rhythm to the facade and imitate the elegance of the ashlar. The axial symmetry is marked by a carriage gate topped by an arched keyway. Originally, this door gave access to an inner courtyard that has now disappeared.
At that time, architecture was more than a housing project, it had to serve the glory of France like all the Arts. Daniel Gittard returns to the ancient aesthetic and creates a regular facade that brings balance. The upper levels have smooth dressed stone walls, marked by straight lines that give it a beautiful sobriety. The noble floors are pierced with large openings that allow ample light to penetrate. The work on the railings is a fine example of the art of ironwork of the time.
Let’s push open the carriage door of this building to discover the history of this place which has never stopped reinventing itself as the House has evolved. Pierre Frey first occupied the first floor before gradually becoming the owner of the entire building. The spaces were used for different purposes: showroom, offices, accessory shops on the ground floor and now become the House’s headquarters.
The wooden staircase has survived the vicissitudes of time. Rising to the left in the old courtyard, it serves all the floors. The wrought iron railing has a simple and elegant design. Each level is composed of a floor in terracotta tiles with a geometric pattern.
Number 47 is more than an address, it is part of our identity!