The Hôtel de Ville (town hall) de Paris has always been on our visit wishlist. Last Saturday we attended the 22eme Maghreb des Livres which was being held there and we were floored by the stunning interiors. The Maghreb des Livres was fantastic, organised by the association Coup de Soleil, featuring books of all kinds on the subject of Marocco. There was a wonderful atmosphere and there were so many books to look through.
If you ever get a chance to take a peek inside, do! It is breathtaking. In 1357, Étienne Marcel (Provost of the Merchants) bought the now Hôtel de Ville which was located in Place de Grève, the name of this square was changed to Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in 1802. Place de Grève was a public meeting place (most often the site of public exécutions) and also a location where unemployed people would gather to seek work. We know the word grève very well in France as it means ‘strike’. ‘Être en grève’ (to be on strike) and ‘faire la grève’ (go on strike). From 1357 to this day, the Hôtel de Ville is the administrative center for Paris.
In 1533, François I appointed two architects, Italian Dominique de Cortone and Frenchman Pierre Chambiges, to redesign the building in the Renaissance style. The building works were not finished until around 1628 when Louis XIII was in reign. The building has seen a number of events and damages during the French Revolution and the Franco-Prussian War. Jacques de Flesselles, a public servant and one of the first victims of the FR, was murdered by an angry crowd on the 14th of July 1789. In 1871 the public set fire to the Hôtel de Ville whilst protesting against a speculated surrender to the Prussians which destroyed all the public records during the French Revolutionary period and left only a shell of the building.
Architects Théodore Ballu and Edouard Deperthes won a public competition for the buildings reconstruction, which took 19 years to complete. The main hall design is based on the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ in the château of Versailles.
Hôtel de Ville de Paris
Metro: Hôtel de Ville (ligne 1 & 11)
For more information on visits, please visit the website