Known as a British stamping ground as far back as the early nineteenth century, the rue de la Paix, the rue de Castiglione and the rue de Rivoli formed a so-called “London district” and a hotbed of high society anglomania.
This did not escape the famous tourist guide Adolphe Laurent Joanne, who in 1867 wrote in Paris illustré: “It is, in general, the area around the Tuileries, the rue de Rivoli and the faubourg Saint-Honoré, where the British Embassy is to be found, that members of the British aristocracy of name and fortune colonise when visiting Paris. Who does not know, at least by name, the Hôtel Meurice at 288 rue de Rivoli? It is a veritable English possession in the centre of Paris”.
To respond to this mercantile anglomania, certain shops catered to a dual clientele of French and foreign visitors. In 1856, Galignani, The first English bookshop established on the continent, opened under the arches on the rue de Rivoli at number 224, rapidly acquiring the reputation for British elegance that it still enjoys today.
Vendors of travel requisites also adapted to this new market, as shown by the “English spoken” signs in the shop windows of local trunk makers. Members of the wealthy visiting elite became the select clientele of the emballeurs, who would ship their precious purchases home. In 1834, the future maison Goyard opened its doors at 347, rue Saint-Honoré (changed to number 233 in 1856).
Almost two centuries later, Devambez revived the tradition of the maison by publishing the prestigious tome entitled Goyard, malletier, which was naturally placed on display at Galignani.
The former “London district” of the nineteenth century, consisting of a handful of streets around the Place Vendôme, thus encapsulates the purest essence of Devambez’s philosophy: the idea of luxury as a timeless value.
[Texts from Goyard, malletier, Paris, Devambez, 2010]
L’Hôtel Meurice, Paris, Devambez, 1928
Pierre Tzenkoff, Goyard, malletier, maison fondée en 1792, Paris, Devambez, 2010