The origins of the Grand Hôtel du Havre go back to the prehistoric times. Legend has it that the Seine decided to flow somewhere else. The river left its bed, finding its new way near the Opera, the rue La Boétie and Alma. From the mammoth living in the Opera, only a few bones were left and discovered when the Hôtel du Havre was built.
Thousands of years later, the Île de la Cité welcomed those who would become the Parisians. The city grew, protected by ramparts. Merchants, jewelers and bankers chose the right bank of the Seine. The left bank was mostly dedicated to students. Over time, the fortifications vanished and boulevards appeared, where Louis XIV liked to wander. However, the asphalt and cobblestones only appeared in the 18th century, enabling the Parisians to stroll around in the rain.
The rue Saint-Lazare was already highly crowded since it is on the way connecting many villages (Le Roule, Les Porcherons…). The 9th arrondissement of Paris really took of in the 19th century. The Opera stood proudly a few meters away from the Madeleine and the parc Tivoli. The Parisians used to get there through the rue d’Amsterdam. The Seine left a dried up ground in its path, enabling the construction of those impressive structures, features of the Capitale.
When Queen Marie Amélie and her daughters inaugurated the first tracks in 1837, King Louis-Philippe explicitly notified his disagreement. However, it took a few more years for the famous gare St-Lazare to be implanted in Paris.
In 1910, the Seine left its bed again, flowing where it was supposed to during prehistory.
Today, the neighborhood is nowhere near this. The Grands Magasins are next to the modern Hôtel du Havre and the world-famous green spaces. All the evidence suggests that these are the early stages of steady increase since Paris is a farsighted city.