Hotel-de-Ville square (former Grevskaya square)
France, Paris

The Place de Ville is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, in the old aristocratic Marais district. Until 1803, the square was called Grevskaya, from the French la greve, which means sandy beach. It is believed that this is the oldest square in Paris. In this place, on the right bank of the Seine, was the first river pier, which soon turned into a full-fledged port. In 1141, at the request of the citizens of Paris, the king of France Louis VII established by decree Grevskaya Square, on which a large market soon appeared. By the 13th century, Paris had grown so large that Grevskaya Square was in the very center of the city. In the XIV century, on the Grevskaya Square, strikes began on the guilds of merchants whom the authorities imposed exorbitant taxes. Fearing bloody pogroms, the French king Charles V made concessions to them, and in 1357 the head of the merchant estate Etienne Marcel acquired the status of a Parisian prime minister. He acquired a prestigious house on Grevskaya Square, known to Parisians as the Stilt House. In the XVI century, on the site of this house, by decree of Francis I, the construction of the palace began, which houses the Paris City Hall (Hôtel de ville de Paris). Construction lasted from 1533 to 1628, was completed under Louis XIII. While the Town Hall was being built, four monarchs were replaced in France. In 1803, Grevskaya Square was renamed the Place de Ville. And in 1871, during the Paris Commune, the building was set on fire by a group of communards. The fire raged for 8 days, the Town Hall burned to the ground, archives, books, furniture and paintings were destroyed. In 1873, the French government decided to completely restore the dead palace. The erection of a new palace in the Neo-Renaissance style lasted from 1874 to 1882, the facade was decorated with more than a hundred sculptures depicting the famous French born in Paris. The square has a bloody history. For several centuries, from 1310 to 1830, Grevskaya Square was the site of public executions in Paris. On it, in front of onlookers, nobles and the clergy, heads were chopped down, heretics were burnt alive, the killers were wheeled, ordinary people were hanged, and for the attempt on the king and his family members were quartered. In 1792, a guillotine was installed on Grevskaya Square, only one execution took place here, soon the guillotine was transferred from Grevskaya Square to Revolution Square, where almost all executions of the French Revolution took place. Now in the Hotel de Ville square nothing reminds of those terrible times. The square has become one of the favorite vacation spots of Parisians. In winter, you can skate here on an open ice rink, right in front of the Town Hall. In the summer - watch a football match on a big screen, ride on an old carousel, relax by the fountain and even play volleyball. The square hosts festivals, concerts, entertainment and cultural events.