☆ Hôtel de Ville ☆
Do you know the Maison aux Piliers?? Of course you do – it’s on the place de Grève!! This square stages ice-skating in winter and sporting events on giant screens in the summer, with bare-foot beach volleyball in the hot sand, when the banks of the Seine turn into a beach resort for Paris-Plage..
Feeling lost?? Well actually, that’s understandable..
In the 12th century, the administration of Paris was entrusted to the corporation of water merchants who controlled navigation on the Seine..
Etienne Marcel, the provost of the merchants, transferred the seat of the municipality to the Maison aux Piliers – the current site of the Paris City Hall – in 1357..
The square – then place de Grève – became a spot for popular merrymaking… and public punishment..
Crowds congregated to witness all sorts of executions until 1830..
Workers also used to wait for work here, giving rise in the 19th century to the expression “être en grève” (to be on strike). As for the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall), which replaced the Maison aux Piliers, it burnt down over eight days, in 1871, during the events of the Commune..
Completed in 1882, the current building reflects the splendour of the 3rd Republic..
A sumptuous interior boasts chandeliers, gilding and wood panelling, while the external neo-Renaissance façades are decorated with a profusion of niches and no less than 378 sculpted works..
Mairie de Paris (4th).
Tel: 01 42 76 50 49.
Free guided tours of the Hôtel de Ville: for groups (French,English and German) and individuals from Mon to Fri, by appointement only, according to official events.
Rooms accessible to disabled people.