The Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange) in Lille is the former building of the Lille Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is located between the Grand Place and the Place du Théâtre and is considered to be one of the landmarks of the city centre. The building is in the form of a quadrangle, made up of 24 identical houses enclosing an inner courtyard, which serves as a meeting place for booksellers, florists, chess players and tourists. This site is served by the Rihour metro station.
In 1651 the City of Lille obtained from Philip IV of Spain the authorization to build 'a bourse for the use of merchants that will be surrounded and encloses 24 houses'. The city sold the 24 plots of land around the market square to traders, and supported the construction of the galleries, paving the inner courtyard, and the four entryways. The building was constructed between 1652 and 1653 under the direction of Julien Destrée, in order to offer to the merchants a majestic monument comparable to that of Antwerp. The architecture is typical Flemish Renaissance of the 17th century.
The Lille Stock Exchange opened in 1861 in the building. It was not a very liquid exchange: only 3.4% of the capital changed hands each year.
In 1921, the new stock change building (the Chamber of Commerce) opened, and the Vielle Bourse was vacated. It was classified as a historical monument the same year, and renamed to Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange).References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.