I received this postcard from Lille from the Dudu familiy via Postcrossing. 🙂
It pictures Vieille Bourse, the old stock exchange. It was built by Julien Destrée in 1653 whose commission was to build an exchange to ‘rival that of any great city’. It was also a commission motivated greatly by the persistent ill-health of the Lillois bankers and merchants. Trading had always taken place in the unprotected open air at the Fontaine-au-Change on the Place du Vieux-Marché in all types of weather. As a result the bankers endured regular bouts of flu and colds. By 1651 they had had enough and took their wheezy deputation to the Magistrate. The Magistrate, in sympathy with their cause, put in an application to Philip IV, King of Spain and the Count of Flanders, for a more suitable stock exchange. The result is a quandrangle of 24 privately purchased, ornately decorated yet identical houses surrounding an interior rectangular courtyard where trading could take place. Access into the courtyard is through any one of the four arches located at each of the four sides.