Alongside the six houses bordering Avenue des Champs-Elysées in 1800, luxurious dwellings – Haussmann urban mansions, buildings or bourgeois homes – soon appeared. All the gardens were assigned to the Paris Municipality that developed them, building pavements and then four fountains. In 1854, the construction of the building located on the angle of Avenue Gabriel and the Rue du Cirque became part of this dynamic. It belonged to the family of the Duke of Morny, a powerful figure in the Second Empire. The illegitimate son of Hortense de Beauharnais and the half-brother of Napoleon III, the Duke of Morny had a number of illustrious ancestors, including his grandfather, Talleyrand.
This ambitious visionary swiftly understood the changing 19th century French society and the consequences of the industrial revolution. Following a glorious military career, he changed course, leveraging his business acumen and political talent. Upon being elected as a member of parliament for Clermont-Ferrand in 1842, he invented lobbying on behalf of the sugar industry. This aristocrat, dandy, art collector, racehorse owner and developer of the Longchamp racecourse was the man who first launched Deauville as a fashionable resort. Owned by the Duc of Morny’s family until 1888, the building was completely occupied by large apartments. Subsequently acquired by an insurance company, it became the property of Pierre Cardin’s Compagnie and subsequently of Michel Reybier and his family.