Hotel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville, Paris's city hall, is the center of political Paris. Like Paris, it has had a turbulent history. Until 1141 when water merchants created the port de Grève (Shore Harbour) to relieve Paris's busy port, the site was merely a shingle beach. The square near the harbour was known as the 'place de Grève'.Razi

In 1246 the first municipality was created when the Parisian trade guilds elected aldermen as representatives towards the King. It wasn't until 1357 when one of the Aldermen, a water merchant, bought a house near the place de Grève. The two-storeyed building featured two towers and arcades. Known as the House of Pillars, it served as the predecessor of the city hall. A new Hôtel de Ville in Renaissance style was built between 1553 and 1628. It was enlarged in 1803 and again in 1837.

A revolting Commune which had occupied the Hôtel de Ville for months set the building on fire in May 1771, destroying the valuable city archives. Shortly after the Commune was defeated by royalist forces, the city government held a competition for a new city hall. The architects Théodore Ballu and Edouard Deperthes won this competition with their proposition to reconstruct the Hôtel de Ville in its original style. Funded by a national subscription the construction started in 1882. Eight years later, the new Hôtel de Ville was officially inaugurated.It's me  with the view of the Hotel de Ville from the distance

The building is decorated with 108 statues, representing famous Parisians. 30 Other statues represent French cities. The clock at the central tower is adorned with several feminine sculptures representing the Seine River, The city of Paris, 'Work' and 'Education'.

The interior of the city hall is decorated in a pompous IIIe Empire style. Noteworthy are the large staircase, the long Salle des Fêtes (ballroom), the painted ceilings and walls, the stained glass windows and the numerous chandeliers.

From 1310 on, the Place de Grève was the square were most of the executions in Paris took place. Here people were beheaded, quartered, cooked up or burned at the stake. In 1792, a guillotine was installed. It would prove itself useful during the French Revolution. The last execution took place in 1830, after which the square was renamed Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. It was enlarged by Haussmann to its current size. In 1982 the large square became a pedestrian zone.

The Hôtel de Ville is situated in the 4e arrondissement, near the Seine River. It is not far from the Centre Pompidou (north) and the Notre-Dame (south) across the pont d'Arcole.


Paris Links



© 2003 Quiachon Official Website
designed and managed by Helen Mates Selami