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this is an image of the Eiffel Tower in paris, france

Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville in Paris, situated on the North bank of the Seine, is the Administrative home for the city of Paris and is the official residence of the mayor of Paris.

Address: Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004, Paris France
Area: Marais
Arrondissement: 4th
Transport: M° (Métro) - Hôtel de Ville (line 1 or 11)
Entry Cost: Free of charge

History of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris

In July 1357, Étienne Marcel, provost of the merchants (i.e. mayor) of Paris, bought the so-called maison aux piliers ("House of Pillars") in the name of the municipality on the gently sloping shingle beach which served as a river port for unloading wheat and wood and later merged into a square, the Place de Grève (French for "Square of the Strand"), a place where Parisians often gathered, particularly for public executions. Ever since 1357, the City of Paris's administration has been located on the same location where the Hôtel de Ville stands today.

In 1533, King Francis I decided to endow the city with a city hall which would be worthy of Paris, then the largest city of Europe and Christendom. He appointed two architects: Italian Dominique de Cortone, nicknamed Boccador because of his red beard, and Frenchman Pierre Chambiges. The House of Pillars was torn down and Boccador, steeped in the spirit of the Renaissance, drew up the plans of a building which was at the same time tall, spacious, full of light and refined. Building work was not finished until 1628 during the reign of Louis XIII.

During the next two centuries, no changes were made to the edifice which was the stage for several famous events during the French Revolution. Eventually, in 1835, on the initiative of Rambuteau, préfet of the Seine département, two wings were added to the main building and were linked to the facade by a gallery, to provide more space for the expanded city government.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in several political events. On 30 October 1870, revolutionaries broke into the building and captured the Government of National Defence, while making repeated demands for the establishment of a communard government. The existing government was rescued by soldiers who broke into the Hôtel de Ville via an underground tunnel built in 1807, which still connects the Hôtel de Ville with a nearby barracks. On 18 January 1871, crowds gathered outside the building to protest against speculated surrender to the Prussians, and were dispersed by soldiers firing from the building, who inflicted several casualties. The Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters, and as anti-Commune troops approached the building, Commune extremists set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period. The blaze gutted the building, leaving only a stone shell.