Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Chaussures Richard, La Rochelle

Rue des merciers, or Haberdashers' Street, is one of the most typical streets of La Rochelle: timber-framed medieval houses, with their wooden parts protected by slate, and Renaissance buildings, with elaborate gargoyles, alternate with the more sober façades of houses built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Originally laid c. 1100 when Guillaume X, Duke of Aquitaine, fortified the city, it was then known simply as the Grande rue. In 1286 a charter granted tax exemptions to the cloth merchants who traded along its course. As a result their numbers increased and the street became rapidly known as Rue des merciers. In the 17th century this was changed to Rue des drapiers, or Drapers' Street, before its two first names were combined in the early 19th century into Grande rue des merciers. A few decades later 'Grande' was dropped from the name but the street remained as popular as ever with the inhabitants of La Rochelle and the surrounding area, who continued to buy their clothes and, increasingly, other goods in its shops.
Walking in a northward direction towards the covered market, it doesn't take long to spot the first ghost sign, or rather ghost signs as there are at least three layers on this façade.

Two signs can be read without much difficulty. The difference in style seems to indicate they advertised two different businesses.

Chaussures Richard

The sign for the shoe shop Richard was painted twice. For the second version, the sign painter used smaller letters.

A close look at the sign written on the first floor between the two windows reveals something was written before Maison de confiance (Trustworthy Shop) was painted.

The words that can still be deciphered are:
Ancienne maison [Formerly]

I haven't found what business was Pellereau in. Maybe this was one of the fashion shops found along the Rue des merciers?

Location: Rue des merciers, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime / Pictures taken on: 18/08/2011

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