This building is near my workplace, so I’ve walked past it countless times in the last 3 years. The beautiful, tiled facade gives us a few clues as to its origins; in dark blue, we can read ‘Société française des Eaux minérales’ and ‘Vals Sources “Perles” ‘.
This building was once the headquarters of the Société Française des Eaux Minérales, a company that had the right to a source of cold, sparkling water in Ardèche, in south-central France from 1885. Vals Sources “Perles” was the name that had been given to this source, with ‘perles’ (or beads), referring to the bubbles. This water was hugely popular and thought to be an ailment for stomach infections, urinary tract infections, arthritis and even gout! Apparently, it had a very pleasant taste, and could be drunk on its own, or mixed with wine.
The company is no longer based here, and it seems like they are now a subsidiary of Nestle Waters, but the unique building facade continues to hold its place on the rue de Londres.