Empress Eugenie of the French
Eugenie de Montijo
Eugenie de Montijo (1826 - 1920)
Eugenie was the wife of Napoleon III.
She was a fashionista and the creative mind behind
the renovation of the Les Halles Centrales foodmarket.
Eugenie transmitted the legends about Cremerie de Paris
and the Halles
to Alix Hessen, mother of Anastasia
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.
1856, march 16 birth of the only child Louis Napeloen, Prince Impérial.
Napoleon III 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 interconnecting the already existing monuments.
Rue des Halles & Pavillons Baltard
Emperess Eugenie fascinated by decorative arts was extremely interested
by the Halles Centrales projects.
The idea to create the "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 Crystal Palace
Eugenie influenced Napoleon III to change the 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 and steel as possible.
Emperess Eugénie uses her influence to make the Halles Centrales
beautiful. Every little detail, every cariatide, every facade ornement
is verified by her.
Living 10 minutes walking distance from rue des Halles
at the Palais des Tuileries
it is easy for Eugenie to follow up on the construtions.
A story that leaves France
1870 attacked by Otto von Bismarck
Napoleon III lost the Franco Prussian war
which resulted in the end of the Second Empire.
Napoleon III and Eugenie have to leave the country
which becomes the 3rd Republic
September 5 the Empress leaves Paris with help of her dentist Doctor Evans.
September 7 she arrives in Deauville,
September 8 she takes a boat from Trouville to England.
Queen Victoria gave them exile in England.
The family settled at Camdem Place in Chislehurst, south of London.
Napoleon III died in 1873.
Eugénie hopes her son would be able to make a comeback, but instead
1879 Louis Napoléon dies in Zoulouland (South Africa).
Eugenie falls into depression.
1880 Eugenie met Queen Victoria's grand-daughter Alix Hessen.
The young girl had just lost her mother, Princess Alice of Great Britain.
wanted to protect her but she did not have enough time
for her grandchild.
This gave Eugenie a new responsability and she started to tell the little girl
all her wonderful stories of Paris,
including the fairytales of Cremerie de Paris
where two centuries earlier a boy of her age had grown up, Louis XIV.
The stories about the Cremerie and the Halles foodmarket
were so fascinating, twenty years later
Alix told them to her own children
who grew up in St Petersburg
resulting - 116 year after Eugenie's departure from France
and 16 years after the end of the foodmarket -
in the reopening of the Cremerie.
First a store for telephones
followed by a the first Internetcafe in Paris
where the Phonebook of the World was invented,
the Cremeries turned into Pop Up Expo locations
where the World's most famous brands
set up Pop Up Stores.
Eugenie would be amused to see all the young fashonistas
come to "her" rue des Halles.