LE BHV MARAIS HISTORY
The Grand Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville was then only a small shop, located in a prime location: the rue de Rivoli, created by the Ardèche bimbelotier Ruel Francis Xavier in 1856. After his death, his wife, Mary Magdalene, his daughters and his sons in law took over the business with more than 1,000 employees in 1900.
While death won in 1900, the career and philanthropic qualities of this man are praised. His wife, Mary Magdalene, his daughters and his sons in law took over the business with more than 1,000 employees. Fixed prices and the successive enlargements of the store allowed him to sell all kinds of goods and for every budget. Under the four large windows of the store were both counters to 0.05 francs expensive jewelry. The toys, bazaar & fashion sections given from the beginning by Ruel family, are highlighted in the catalogs, posters and on the facade of the store . In 1913 the building was extended and a rotunda was build by Augustus Roy: it changed the street profile, and started to be the architectural emblem of the store. Above the main entrance to ensure putti, each representing a radius or profession related to Grand Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville.
Marcel Duchamp in 1914 acquired a bottle holder in the cellar radius wine: he transformed it to a a ready-made in 1916 and thus disrupted the concept of art. This gesture established the attraction of new artists to the store. During World War I, the direction amplified its social actions and created a workroom in the Grand Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, multiplying clinics , child support and food supply. In the interwar period the store renovate: It focus mainly on fashion, the granddaughter of FX Ruel, May Lillaz, helps in the beginnings with the finance of Madeleine Vionnet couture house.
In the 1920s, the illuminations of the Bazaar rotunda of City Hall embellished the rue de Rivoli every winter. Elephant, clown, parrot or light Christmas trees followed one another, to delight young and old. Each year, the store was participating in Household Arts Salon formed in 1923 and installed in the Grand Palais. It features the latest technological innovations to homes. In 1924, the brand department store becomes “Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville.” After the Matignon agreements of 1936 and the Voting paid leave, new areas were developed: camping and recreation, were taking more and more importance.
During the Second World War, Le Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville stayed opened. Some of the staff were requisitioned, and the management was committed to a resistance group by providing them with financial and material support. The traffic circulation , blocked in the North of France, interrupted the flow of goods. The liberation of Paris was celebrated with fanfare on the square of the City Hall, under the windows of the store. In the immediate post-war resumption of commercial activities remained difficult due to lack of available goods. The buyers travelled the roads in search of goods and department stores adapted their offers after this period of shortage.
The revival of postwar consumer society and equipping homes during the 1950s expanded sectors of the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville activities.
The store competed again creatively in the creation of stands the Home Exhibition and unveiled a new logo in 1951, which took the name “BHV”. The descendants of FX Ruel appealed to creative avant-garde to modernize the store. Georges Lillaz was surrounded by Raymond Loewy, a famous designer, to make interior more comfortable. Le Poisson d’Avril film, with Bourvil and Louis De Funes, was shot in 1954 in the rays!
Philanthropic actions are pursued by the family: the store was committed to Emmaus since its inception in particularly making BHV delivery trucks available to the new association during the harsh winter in 1954. A special support was given to scientific research: BHV teams provided assistance to Auguste Piccard to develop a submarine, then uncovered the 1st floor. Since 1963, and for the first time in a department store, customers were greeted at night every Wednesday with a new mascot, the owl!
In 1964, BHV developed its store network in France: the first branch was opened on Flanders Avenue. Rue de Rivoli the transformed entire store working with architect Louis Arretche till 1966 and who also was working on the renovation of the Marais district. By 1968, cooperation was set up with in the group of the French Society of New Galleries Together to develop the brand: it was gradually becoming the largest shareholder.
In 1991, the Galeries Lafayette Group acquired the French company Nouvelles Galeries and BHV together. Since, the branches transformed and gradually the Rivoli street store was renovated.
A new page for the brand started emerging as early as 2010. In 2013, facade and interiors were renovated and the new and fresh concept of LE BHV MARAIS was unveiled.