LaurieAnnie

LaurieAnnie

Posted on 12/21/2005


Photo taken on March  1, 2004


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Hotel De Ville in Paris, March 2004

Hotel De Ville in Paris, March 2004
The Hôtel de Ville (French for "City Hall") 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 being 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.

During the next two centuries, no changes were made to the edifice which was the stage for several famous events during the French Revolution (notably the murder of the last provost of the merchants Jacques de Flesselles by an angry crowd on July 14, 1789 and the coup of 9 Thermidor Year II when Robespierre was shot in the jaw and arrested in the Hôtel de Ville with his followers). 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 October 30, 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 January 18, 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. The blaze gutted the building, leaving only a stone shell.

The reconstruction of the building was directed by architects Théodore Ballu and Pierre Deperthes following an architectural contest. They rebuilt the interior of the Hôtel de Ville within the stone shell that had survived the fire. While the rebuilt Hôtel de Ville is from the outside a copy of the 16th century French Renaissance building that stood before 1871, the new interior was based on an entirely new design, with ceremonial rooms lavishly decorated in the 1880s style.

Since the French Revolution, the building has been the scene of a number of historical events, notably the proclamation of the French Third Republic in 1870 and the famous speech by Charles de Gaulle on August 25, 1944 during the Liberation of Paris when he greeted the crowd from a front window.

The Hôtel de Ville was for many years the fief of Jacques Chirac, France's presid

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