Travel

Place de Greve and Hotel de Ville

Lutetia was born on the island, but Paris spread over the bounds of the Cite Island for more than two thousand years. The history of the modern French capital consists of many great moments, legendary persons, splendid architectural constructions, – and we are going to tell about one of them (or rather two inseparable objects). Dear readers, our story is on Hotel de Ville and Place de Greve, playing important role in the life of Paris today.

As we know from the history, Paris (or Lutetia) was founded on the Ille de la Cite by a Celtic tribe in the 3rd century B.C. and had not being gone out of its bounds for a long time. However, sooner or later a growing and developing town has to widen its territory on both banks of the Seine, and, of course, it happened.

From the beginning of the second millennium A.D. Parisians of those times began to open up nearest lands and to raise up different constructions, many of those are cult in these days. And in the 13th century, Place de Greve had appeared.

We will not assert that the square was a masterpiece of the medieval architecture in those far years, because even the old name (Sandy bank) says that there were not any extravagance here. Nevertheless, the square was a very important place for public life of Paris, so long as meetings and strikes of people dissatisfied by policy of the city’s authorities had been held here. You can ask: why? It’s simple enough. The building of the City Hall was located at the square.

So, we know the Greve Square was the center of settlement’s life, what means that all significant events like fairs, street festivities, grand sermons and, naturally, executions had being held here. During more than five hundred years (until 1830) the executioners cut off noblemen’s heads, quartered and hanged criminals, burned the church’s enemies. It’s remarkable that the first guillotine in France was installed just at this place.

The time changes everything, and the square did not become an exception. Nowadays it’s known under one more name – Hotel de Ville, which was received due to the City Hall of Paris.

This magnificent architectural construction has a long history and is favourite place of the Parisians and visitors of the city.

The first serious building of Paris municipality was built in the 16th century in the style of the Italian Renaissance by Dominique de Cortone. Though at that time there was a maniacal love to Gothic in France, and very soon the architect Pierre Chambiges had started a rebuilding of the City Hall. The main elements of those construction we can see today.

At one moment Hotel de Ville was neglected and dilapidated, but thanks to talented restorers the building had been restored, wonderfully copying a unique mix of the French Gothic and the Italian Renaissance, supplemented with statues of the great French artists and politicians.

Nowadays Place de Greve may be called as one of the most popular Paris places along with the Louvre, Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. Many touristic routes pass through the square, interesting events are being held, and it’s very prestigious to own an apartment in this area.

If you have not been in Paris, visiting Place de Greve and admiring Hotel de Ville, we advise you to do this and add some bright colors into your touristic journal.