The Hôtel de Ville in Paris, France, is the building housing the City of Paris’s administration. Standing on the place de l’Hôtel de Ville (formerly the place de Grève) in the city’s IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions.
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. Before 1357, the city administration was located in the so-called parloir aux bourgeois (“Parlour of Burgesses”) near the Châtelet.
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.
Photo Credit: Mikael