Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutique At 7 Place Vendôme: An Oasis Of Swiss Elegance In The Buzzing Heart Of Paris
by Martin Green
Place Vendôme has always held an extraordinary attraction to me; I cannot visit the French capital without going to the square. It is a place of historical importance, where essential parts of French history played out, but it is also a place of utter luxury.
When they were built, the hôtel particuliers, or city townhouses, served as the homes and offices of some of the richest and most influential families in France.
While the façades of the hôtel particuliers are homogenous, what’s behind them is not. As an example of great diversity behind a unified face, one of the magical places we find on the square is the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique on 7 Place Vendôme.
7 Place Vendôme’s history: the emperor
The history of this particular house, also known as Hôtel Lebas de Montargis, is an interesting one. It was named after Claude Lebas de Montargis, “Treasurer Extraordinary of Wars” for France, and the son-in-law of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect who designed incredible buildings such as the Grand Trianon of the Palace of Versailles and the domed chapel of Les Invalides as well as Place Vendôme.
In private hands for most of its existence, 7 Place Vendôme was leased to the empire under Napoleon. And it was also here that a daring coup d’etat against the French emperor ended. Known as the Malet coup of 1812, the French general Claude-François de Malet falsified documents stating Napoleon had died while in Russia, enabling him to con several senior officers and almost allowing him to take control of the French capital – if it hadn’t been for Colonel Pierre Doucet.
Presented with the papers in his office at 7 Place Vendôme, Doucet recognized that they were forged as he knew of letters sent by the emperor after his supposed death. He lured Malet into a room by himself and overpowered him, regaining control of the armed forces in the name of Napoleon. Malet was later tried and executed.
In 1900 the property became the headquarters of Beer, one of the leading fashion houses of its time, which disappeared in 1932 due to a series of fusions and mergers. Beer was the first fashion company to settle in this area of Paris.
It would also play a role in founding a company that extensively remodeled the property, expanding it by including a plot on the adjacent Rue Saint-Honoré. Another investor in the company was Ivar Kreuger, a Swedish industrialist who made a fortune in matchsticks, which he later turned into a financial empire.
Originally, 7 Place Vendôme was meant to become the headquarters of the Bank of Sweden and Paris, which Kreuger founded. When in the 1930s his empire unraveled thanks to dubious financial schemes, ending with Kreuger taking his own life, his bank failed as well.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s room for excellence
The way that 7 Place Vendôme was changed in 1930 might have had a significant impact on what Jaeger-LeCoultre would do with the space, which the brand has occupied since 2005.
Measuring a generous 500 square meters divided over three floors, the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique was extensively remodeled in 2012. Its atmosphere can best be described as a comfortable luxury. It is elegantly decorated, yet with restraint, very much like the watches the brand makes.
The entrance has a rotunda, which extends to the first floor on which the VIP area is situated. Here, over a view of the famous Vendôme Column in the middle of the square, clients can take their time learning more about the brand and selecting the watches to suit their tastes and desires.
The Paris boutique is also the place where watch aficionados have a good chance of finding the more complex offerings by Jaeger LeCoultre, including masterpieces from the Hybris Mechanica collection.
The staff’s warm welcome is matched by its sincere passion for the brand in sharing its love and the many particulars of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s history and different models. This adds to the comfort that the boutique oozes as there is no stress put on purchasing anything.
Not that it’s not tempting, though, as the boutique also has a great selection of Atmos clocks and, remarkably, a lot of diamond-set versions of most watches. This makes it very hard not to find something to your liking.
Underground 7 Place Vendôme
The JLC boutique also has a lower level. This basement area is styled in the same way as the rest of the boutique, yet with large bookcases featuring Atmos clocks, artifacts, and books on a wide variety of topics. Here clients can sit and relax for a moment while their Jaeger-LeCoultres are, for example, fitted with new straps.
The boutique also performs some maintenance on watches on-site – and even engravings such as dates or initials on the case backs of Reversos. This enables the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique at Place Vendôme to offer the full pallet of services to clients making a pilgrimage to one of the most renowned squares in the world.
7 Place Vendôme
75001 Paris, France
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/ww/en/boutiques/France/Paris.