Paris City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) lit up at night



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City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


Paris City Hall
By James Monaghan

12 March 2005: The City Hall of Paris (Hôtel de Ville) of Paris has always been situated close to the river Seine in an area known as the Marais, or marsh. In 1357, Etienne Marcel, Provost of the Paris Guild of Merchants, bought the ‘House of Pillars’, on the shingle beach which served as a river port for unloading wheat and wood. It merged into a square, the Place de Grève (or Strand), a place where Parisians often gathered, particularly for public executions. This is where Ravaillac, Henri IV's murderer, was hung, drawn and quartered, and where heretics, and poisoners like La Brinvilliers and La Voisin were burned at the stake.

In 1533, François I decided to endow the city with a Hôtel de Ville which would be worthy of the Parisians. He appointed two architects: an Italian, Dominique de Cortone nicknamed Boccador because he had a red beard and a Frenchman, Pierre Chambiges. Boccador, steeped in the spirit of the Renaissance, drew up the plans of a building which was at the same time tall, spacious, full of light and refined. Building work was not finished until 1628 during the reign of Louis XIII and during the following two centuries no charges were made to the edifice until in 1835, on the incentive of the Prefect of Paris, two wings were added to the main building and were linked to the facade by a gallery, to provide more space for the expanded city government.

This old historic Hôtel de Ville came to a tragic end. The defeat at Sedan in 1870 brought about the fall of the Second Empire and the Parisians, during the revolt of the Commune in 1871, set fire to several symbolic monuments in the city: the Tuileries Palace, The Cour des Comptes (Audit office) and the Hôtel de Ville. There the fire raged for eight days. The city's archives and its art treasures were completely destroyed.

After the fall of the Commune, the government decided to rebuild the Hôtel de Ville. A competition was held and was won by two architects, Ballu and Deperthes who had opted for an identical reconstruction. A national subscription fund brought in the necessary money and after only eight years the building was finished. It had a twofold function as the seat of municipal administration and a place where large receptions could be held. However, when on 13th July 1882 the new building was officially inaugurated, the interior arrangements were not yet finished.

The decoration was entrusted to several successful artists and had to conform to both the pedagogical and aesthetic criteria of the Third Republic. Whereas the historical painter Jean-Paul Laurens related in his paintings highlights of the history of Paris in one room, Georges Bertrand sang the praises of agriculture on the walls and ceiling of the dining room. The decoration of the Salon des Arcades was dominated by the idea of the supremacy and development of fine arts, crafts, science and literature. The pale, hieratic pictures by Puvis de Chavannes contrast well with the worldly inspiration depicted in the allegories of perfume and flowers by Ferrié, music by Gervex and dance by Morot in the Salle des Fêtes.


 


The council chamber of Paris City Hall


Introducing Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris
Bertrand Delanoë was born in 1950 in Tunis and has been Mayor of Paris since March 2001. He still enjoys high popularity ratings among Parisians.

Key factors for his popularity are:
• his reputation for developing high profile arts and social events,
• his reputation for honesty and devotion to the city as instanced in his successful drive to stamp out corruption in City Hall, especially as regards housing
• his ongoing reforms of the Parisian transport system, and
• his raising of Paris’s international profile, including the Olympic bid

The most famous of his arts and social events are La Nuit Blanche and Paris Plage.

La Nuit Blanche, or White Night, sees public spaces such as museums, art galleries, swimming pools etc. open all night, and monuments and buildings illuminated in colored light with music playing. This is now an annual event involving over a million visitors. More than 100 attractions were featured last year and there was music, including techno rock dance parties in museums as well as jazz and folk. These were combined with traditional visual arts, together with smoke pictures and light sculptures. The concept has since been copied by, among other cities, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Brussels, Toulouse and Rome, although Rome’s Notte Bianca was marred in 2003 by massive power cuts. More