Hotel de Ville

A Walking Tour of Hotel de Vile Paris France


Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.


It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called Maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.


The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According to the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.

Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.


This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.


The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

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Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.


The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.

Let your light shine!


31 thoughts on “Hotel de Ville

    1. Thank you Deborah!! It was a beautiful section of town. I didn’t realize it’s importance because we stumbled upon it on our way to a different destination. I probably would have spent more time photographing it if I’d realized the depth of its history.

  1. Life, and things, do not have to be perfect to be beautiful. Perfection can be found anywhere, especially in aged iron and wood as you so well point out here.

  2. Those ceremonial doors are wonderful. So glad you thought to capture and share them with us door nuts.
    I just checked their website to get some info on the guided tours only to find they’ve been suspended until further notice with no explanation as to why 🙁
    I suspect for security reasons…perhaps?
    The inside seems just as impressive as the exterior. If you look up Salon Georges Betrand: woooooooow – spectacular

    1. Thank you Norm!
      How disappointing to here that they’ve been suspended. I suspect for security reasons as well.
      I looked up the Salon Georges Betrand. Woooooow is right! That must be what they mean when they reference the function room that was created as a replica of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

  3. Great post, Amy! Last time I was in Paris the French Open Tennis tournament was going on, and they had a complete tennis court including bleachers set up in front of this beautiful building!

    1. Thanks Marcus!
      Wow!! I knew the square was big! That must have been a sight to see. 🙂

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos! Paris is so beautiful. This is from when we were there last spring, but I hope to return again someday. As Audrey Hepburn says “Paris is always a good idea” 🙂

  4. I like how you take a scene and show it in layers – from the close detail and expanding outwards. With wonderfully ornate buildings like this, it is so easy to lose the all that detail, but you showcase it beautifully.

    1. Thank you Joanne! I love when I remember to capture the details because even though I’ve taken them all in with my eye, they are easy to lose when sharing, if you haven’t focused the camera on them. 🙂

    1. Thank you Joey! Paris had lots of beauty to choose from. Too bad I didn’t capture it all. 😉 I loved that quote too. I actually made it for the Versailles post, but then opted for a Cicero quote on that one. 🙂

  5. Versailles, so beautiful – we didn’t get too it, but my son many years later when he went to Paris himself, went.
    Can’t remember which hotel in Paris we stayed. Only remember that it was expensive, but worth the stay )and the breakfast), It was very comfortable. Also, it was quite close to the tram, which was nice.
    Thanks so much Amy for visiting my “other” blog and sorry I didn’t have time right away to reply – still need to organize my time better, since I started another big painting.

    1. Versailles was very beautiful. My daughter thinks it was her favorite thing in Paris.
      We chose a hotel close to the metro as well. It made the time there very nice.
      I always have a hard time organizing my time. I only wish I could say that my reason was for something as exciting as a big painting!! 🙂

      1. Maybe you’ve said it already in one of your posts, but what was your favorite thing in Paris? A difficult choice, but I think mine was the smaller Picasso museum.
        Because of my previous job I had to be very time conscious, so I had lots of practice:):)

      2. Our time was so brief and our youngest was ill, plus balancing everyone’s interests we didn’t go inside many places…that’s such a hard say. I loved walking through the bookstore Shakespeare and Company. It felt quite magical.

      3. Yeah, these are disappointing things in the midst of travel:( The Shakespeare Company looks like it would be an awesome bookstore to visit. Well, there’s only one solution – you have to go back to Paris:):)

  6. Janet from Sustainabilitae blog asked me to leave this comment for her as she was having trouble posting it: “Quite impressive, Amy. I wonder whether Cruella ever lived here (a 101 Dalmations reference for anyone wondering what the heck I’m talking about.) Janet 🙂”

    1. I can definitely see how that could look like Cruella’s home!!
      Thanks for posting this Jean and thanks for comment Janet! 🙂

    1. Thank you Jean! I thought the history was interesting because I thought it was a “hotel” when I was admiring it, not a city hall. lol.

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