Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville is located in the 4th arrondissement and is used by Paris’ local government. It is an important structure which has been the site of the municipality of Paris dating back to 1357. The structure is on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, which was once called place de Grève. This is a square near the harbor, port de Grève, which played an important role in early times of France. There was no official building structure for the municipality until Hôtel de Ville was constructed.

Design of the Structure

King Francis I decided to give the people of Paris a city hall during the year 1533. Paris was the largest city in Christendom and in Europe during the time, and he wanted to build a hall worthy of the city. Two architects were commissioned to work on the hall. One Italian named Dominique de Cortone, and a Frenchman named Pierre Chambiges. The maison aux piliers, which stood on the Hôtel de Ville’s current location, was torn down to make room for a greater structure. De Cortone drew up the plans for a great hall that was spacious, tall and which allowed for a lot of natural light to enter. The construction of the building was not completed until 1628, during the reign of King Louis VIII.


The building played a significant role in both the French Revolution and the Franco-Prussian war. During the year 1872 the Hôtel de Ville was set on fire during a protest, destroying most of its interior and being left as an empty stone shell. The reconstruction of the hall commenced on 1873 and lasted through to 1892. Two architects by the names of Théodore Ballu and Édouard Deperthes won a public commission and were granted the project of reconstructing the building. The architects completely changed the design of the building’s interior. The structure now took on a lavish design that is representative of 1880s style.

A Political Venue

The building is a notable structure which has played a role in numerous historical events. One being the French Third Republic proclamation in 1870. Another being the famous speech during the liberation of Paris on August 25th. The speech was delivered by Charles de Gaulle.

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