Even today, being a site of power and luxury, where the council of Paris sits, and where the mayors guests are welcomed, part of it is open for exhibitions.
The town square in the west front of the building, turned into a pedestrian space in the year 1982. Throughout history, this was a place of gatherings for rebels, insurgents and protestors. Some of the greatest criminals in French history met their maker here by means of hanging, decapitation and fire.
This site is recommended for lovers of history, art and architecture. A guided tour can be organized with the municipality. Visitors can visit the conference room, which was designed with inspiration of the halls of Versailles. Free art exhibits are on display and are very popular amongst tourists and locals.
On the front side of the decorated building you can find gothic style windows and figures of 146 famous Parisian figures that have contributed to the city's art, science and politics.
The building is characterized by windows that tell a story and by many sculpted niches. The interior is filled with decorative furniture and wall hangings.
The main facade is decorated with figures that define Paris - including artists, scientists, politicians and industrialists.
In the inner courtyard, there are two bronze statues. One symbolizes art and the other, science. The main staircase leads to a ballroom and to other halls designed in a mixed "Renaissance" and "Belle Epoch" style (The beautiful era, a period of modernization and vast improvement in quality of life).
In spite of the Pastoralism, a tragic story accompanies this place. In 2016, a few hours before Benoit's participation in the Michelin awards ceremony in Paris, he was found shot near his house with his hunting rifle next to him. The chef's death shocked the global culinary world. Two days after the incident, his wife, Bridget, who runs the restaurant, decided that the show had to go on and opened the restaurant to the general public. In the morning, she convened the restaurant staff and shared her plans for the future according to her husband's vision.
In December 2016, the restaurant won the "Best Restaurant in the World" title from the French Foreign Ministry's ranking the 1,000 restaurants in the world. The restaurant has a waiting list of 3 months.
Osman does some very dramatic things: he destroys the small alleys and builds large boulevards and new buildings instead. These are also years of architectural breakthroughs, an era of culture and intellectualism, in which artists such as Victor Hugo create. The city full is full of creation, thought and art.
In the early 70s of the 19th century, Paris once again suffered from the war between France and Germany. During the war Paris is under siege. The Persians even manage to conquer it and impose harsh taxes on France. The instability of the French government created an internal struggle and Paris suffered a revolutionary-anarchist outbreak as the Paris communes operated and controlled the city. These communes did take care of the masses and the values of equality, but damaged quite a few symbols of culture, especially those identified with the monarchy and the church which caused killings and the rule of terror. This situation put Paris in a difficult civil war.
In May of 1871 there was a "Bloody Week" - the Versailles army attacked Paris, killing tens of thousands of citizens and supporters of the communes and executed some of the leaders of the communes. The peace and quiet returns to France for a couple of decades until the beginning of the twentieth century.
On the 30th of October 1870, revolutionaries broke into the building and took over the government of the National Defence, with repeated demands for the establishment of the commune government. The current government was saved by soldiers who broke into the Hotel de Ville through an underground tunnel that connected the building with the nearby barracks.
On the 18th of January 1871, crowds gathered outside the building to protest against surrendering to the Prussians. They were dispersed by soldiers who fired from nearby buildings and even hit several of them.
The Paris Commune was a Municipal authority established in Paris with the fall of the Bastille. The first mayor was Jean-Sylvain Beau and he chose the Hotel de Ville as the town hall. In 1871, when the members of the commune saw opposing forces approaching the building, they set fire to the building in order to destroy all existing public records. The building, the archives, the municipal library and the important collections of documents were burned down. The enormous flames burned the whole building from the inside, leaving only an empty shell.
Reconstruction of the town hall began in 1873 and ended in 1892 (19 years).