Hotel de Ville - History and Facts | History Hit

Hotel de Ville

Lucy Davidson

24 Aug 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Hotel de Ville

The seat of Paris City Council since 1357, Hotel de Ville – which translates to the Paris city hall – is a neo-renaissance building which is one of Paris’ most enduring landmarks.

History of Hotel de Ville

The site being the seat of the Paris City Council predates the construction of the Hotel de Ville. It was only in 1533 that king Francis I decided to formally construct a building for the purpose of being a city hall. A later north wing was added by Henry IV and Louis XIII between 1605 and 1628.

During the 14th century, the courtyard in front of the building was the central site for executions in the city. This pattern was later repeated, with a guillotine being installed there in 1792 which was frequently used during the French Revolution.

Along with all of the city archives, it was burned to a shell by the Paris Commune in 1871. It was rebuilt over a period of 20 years following the original design, though the interior was significantly altered.

In 1944, as Paris was being liberated from the Germans, the Hotel de Ville was made the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance. At the climax of the liberation, Charles de Gaulle famously appeared on the balcony and made a speech to a celebrating crowd below.

Hotel de Ville Today

Today, Hotel de Ville houses the local government council, and the Mayor of Paris and her cabinet since 1977, and also serves as a venue for large receptions. Tours are available by reservation only. One of the highlights is the function room, which was created as a replica to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Free major exhibitions are also a great success.

Getting to Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville is located very centrally in Paris, in the 3rd arrondissement. The closest Metro station is Châtelet.

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