Paris Hôtel de Ville isn’t
a “hotel”, but a city hall.
At one time the area was used to dock
trading ships. An Alderman bought a grand
house near what was then called “the
place de Grève”. The two-storeyed
building featured two towers and arcades,
and became known as the “House of
Pillars”. This building began to
serve as a rudimentary city hall.
The “Place de Grève”
is famous for being one of the squares
were most of the public executions in
Paris took place (i.e. capital punishement).
From 1310 on people were beheaded, quartered,
cooked up or burned at the stake in full
view of the crowd. In 1792 a guillotine
was installed, and it would see much use
during the French Revolution (along with
its sister in the Place de la Concorde).
the revolution, between 1753 and 1768,
the building was rebuilt in Renaissance
style. It was set on fire by revolutionaries
in 1771, then enlarged and rebuilt in
1803, and modified again in 1837. By 1882
restoration construction finished, and
the new Hôtel de Ville was officially
Decorated with 108 statues representing
famous Parisians and 30 statues to represent
French cities, the Hôtel de Ville
became the political center of Paris.
It was also given a clock for its central
tower, which was adorned with several
feminine sculptures representing the Seine
River, the city of Paris, “Work”,
and “Education”. The Hôtel
de Ville’s interior was richly decorated,
its painted ceilings, walls, stained glass
windows, and the numerous chandeliers
make it one of the most richly decorated
buildings in Europe. In 1982 the large
square became a pedestrian zone.