Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who was six years older had
a strong influence on the young French Empress.
Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom in 1837.
1848, Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte
became President of France
1852, he became emperor after un coup d'etat,
creating the Second French Empire.
1853, january 29 and 30 Napoleon III married Eugenie de Montijo in the Palais de Tuileries.
Napoleon has many projects for the city of Paris.
The city was enlarged by annexing eleven surrounding Communes, creating the existing 20 arrondissements.
Napoleon III and Baron Eugene Haussmann, his prefect of the Seine department (which included the city of Paris)
completely rebuilt the heart of the city,
creating new boulevards interconecting the already existing monuments.
Emperess Eugenie fascinated by decorative arts was extremply interested in particular
the Opera and Halles Centrales projects.
The idea to create "Rue des Halles"
was born in Biarritz where the Emperor and spent her vacation
in her summer home, the Villa Eugenie.
In 1848 the invention of cast plate glass had made it possible
to product large sheets of strong glass.
This enables the construction of the Crystal Palace
build in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Crystal Palace created a new structure with an amount
of glass never ever seen before in a building.
Visitors were amazed, in particular the French Emperor
Napoleon III and his wife Emperess Eugenie.
Napoleon III and Eugenie were rivalizing with Queen Victoria and they had the project to make Paris
become the world's most beautiful city.
After seeing Crysta Palace
Napoleon III and Eugenie immediately changed their plans
for new Halles Centrales foodmarket.
The just constructed first pavillion was demolished
and Victor Baltard was asked to present a new project
using as much glass as possible.
Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie of France
met when they were both heads of state.
In 1870 France lost the Franco Prussian war
which resulted in the end of the Second Empire
and the exile of Napoleon III and Eugenie.
Napoleon III died soon but Eugenie lived for another 50 years.
Getting older she became closer to Queen Victoria
and they liked to exchange souvenirs about
the times in Paris when they were young.
And among Eugenies stories were
her efforts to make les Halles a beautiful place
and many many legends
around Cremerie de Paris.
Queen Victoria died a long time ago in 1901,
but some of the stories
were transmitted through one of her grandaughters
who told them to her own children ...
The children were of magical beauty ...
please click on the picture of the little girl ...
more coming soon ...