Overlooking the Seine, City Hall contains the residence and offices of the mayor. Reconstructed in 1873 after an attack by rioting crowds, it is one of Paris's most stunning buildings, made all the more dramatic by elaborate nighttime lighting. The adjoining public library stages frequent free exhibits celebrating famous photographers like Doisneau or Atget and their notable subjects, often the city herself (the entrance is on the side across from the department store BHV). Alas, the impressive interior of the main administrative building, with its lavish reception halls and staircases, is only open for independent visits during Patrimony Weekend in September. If your French is good, however, free guided tours are given biweekly in summer, weekly in other seasons: call ahead for further information and reservations. The grand public square out front is always lively, playing host to events and temporary exhibitions. There's a carousel and a beach volleyball court (or similar) in summer, and an ice-skating rink (with skate rental available) in winter.
Pl. de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, Paris, 75004, France
/01–42–76–43–43 -for tours
Sep 1, 2014
Located inside the World Heritage site. It is here that stand the municipal institutions of Paris since 1357, though the first official municipality dates back to 1246 (Saint Louis). Thereafter it was destroyed, rebuilt and enlarged several times. The current building was constructed in 1882 on the site of the old City Hall, which was burned by the Commune of 1871. The façade, in neo-Renaissance style, is decorated with important people of the city
of Paris: artists, scientists and politicians.