French Friday – Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville in Autumn. With a history from the 14th century of drama, destruction and violence it is now a tourist's delight.

The Hôtel de Ville in Autumn. With a history from the 14th century of drama, destruction and violence it is now a tourist’s delight.

The wonderful Hôtel de Ville. I remember seeing it for the first time. Coming from Perth, Western Australia where the majority of the buildings are either modern or mid-Victorian at the earliest the sheer size and extent of the decoration astounded me.

Thanks from the city of Paris, a photo it took in April in Paris.

Thanks from the city of Paris, a photo I took in April in Paris.

The wonder of Paris is that it has managed to avoid the faults of most capitals by forbidding high rise building within the city centre and stopping the marvellous architecture being overshadowed by foul glass monoliths or gherkin shaped monstrosities.

The wonderfully ornate rooftops and chimneys. Recreated in the late 19th century after it was destroyed by fire.

The wonderfully ornate rooftops and chimneys. Recreated in the late 19th century after it was destroyed by fire.

It is possible to get wonderful shots of the Hôtel de Ville with ever changing light and different cloud effects and I wondered at is Renaissance exterior only to find out later that the whole building was reduced to a stone shell after it was burnt out by Comunards in the  1870’s. It took 19 years to reconstruct and was rebuilt on the outside to resemble the original exterior with lavish interiors in the style of the late 19th Century.

On the 9th Thermidor Year II, Robespierre was shot in the jaw and arrested in the Hôtel de Ville with his followers marking the end of the Terror.

On the 9th Thermidor Year II, Robespierre was shot in the jaw and arrested in the Hôtel de Ville with his followers marking the end of the Terror.

It is hard to believe that until the late 17th Century the large square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, then known as the Place de Grève was the principal place of execution in Paris. Swanning about on the square you are probably walking where the public pillory and the Gallows originally stood and where a number of notorious executions occurred. The unsuccessful Regicides François Ravaillac and Robert-François Damiens were torn apart by horses there and the bandit-rebel Guy Éder de La Fontenelle was broken on the wheel. One of the later executions was of the famous French fortune teller, poisoner and alleged sorceress La Voisin who on the 22nd February 1680, was burned to death in the square.

Oh dear! When I started this post I didn’t expect it to become so macabre.

Well happy French Friday everyone, and should you be enjoying a stroll in the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, do try not to think of this post.

Another shot of the statues which sit atop of the building, looking out onto the square where a large part of Paris's more violent history was played out.

Another shot of the statues which sit atop of the building, looking out onto the square where a large part of Paris’s more violent history was played out.

If you have an element of French History or Architecture to share this week then simply add your post’s link to the comment section below by clicking on the little black speech bubble to access comments.

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15 thoughts on “French Friday – Hôtel de Ville

  1. Used to walk past it twice a day on the way to work. That must have been one of the most enviable daily journeys ever—Centre Pompdou, Hôtel de Ville, Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame, Boulevard Saint Germain…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful post! Wow – how magnificent is the view. I found a few facts you might like:
    Facts about France:
    Normandy gained its name from Viking settlers and the Duke of Normandy took the throne of England in 1066.
    Bastille Day, celebrated on July 14, 1789, is France’s independence day. In 1789 the citizens of France stormed the Bastille, sparking the French Revolution, and the eventual dethroning of the monarchy.
    France’s National Anthem was the tune sung by the men of Marseille as they marched to Paris in support of the revolution.
    Every July, the Tour de France roars through the country starting in Strasbourg and ending in Paris 2,261 miles later. One of the most unique sporting attractions in the world, legions of tourist line up along the route to support their countrymen, party, and jump about like a it’s midnight on New Years Eve.
    Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe.

    Facts about France: Paris Monuments & Culture:
    The Eiffel Tower tops out at over 1,000 feet, containing 2 restaurants, a souvenir shop, a post office (for that one of a kind postmark), snack bar, and a viewing area.
    Notre Dame Cathedral, France’s most famous cathedral, was started in 1163 and completed in 1330. Pay homage to French author Victor Hugo, and ascend the bell tower for a look at the gargoyles from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    The Louvre Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, with over 35,000 pieces of art, housed in a gigantic, 60,000 square feet building. Its most famous piece is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

    I hope this wasn’t too much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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