Built from 1855 to 1861 for James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868), the original founder of the French branch of the Rothschild family. He hosted the most lavish parties of the epoch within these walls. Rossini, Chopin, Balzac and Delacroix were frequent visitors. The Rothschild family kept the mansion until 1979, although it has basically been abandoned since the Rothschilds fled from France during World War II. Today it's a playground for graffiti artists and vandals.
James Mayer de Rothschild was one of the richest men in the world at the time and the most powerful banker in the country, accredited with playing a major role in making France an industrial power following the Napoleonic Wars. Evidence suggests that in today's money, his personal fortune (not including his family’s) must have been at least five times the fortune accumulated by Bill Gates.