The Old Stock Exchange was built in 1651 under Philippe IV, King of Spain, when the city was Spanish. Its grandeur is a reflection of Lille’s economic success at the time.
Its architecture is typical of the Flemish Renaissance style, comparable to that of Antwerp. Until 1923 it was first and foremost a place of commerce for the merchants of Lille, embodied in the statue of Mercury – god of commerce – which crowns the building’s bell tower.
Today its inner courtyard has a unique charm, creating a meeting point for booksellers, florists, chess players and tourists. During the summer there are weekly tango lessons, and the daily second-hand book market is popular with locals and visitors alike.