Mairie du 1er Arrondissement de Paris – Construction

Mairie du 1er Arrondissement, the town hall of the 1st district of Paris is located next to St-Germain l’Auxerrois Church on Place du Louvre.

Mairie du 1er Arrondissement de Paris
Town hall

This building is very different from the city’s other town halls, because of its lavish architecture!

But its most unusual architectural feature is the imposing belfry, commonly mistaken for that of the church!

Jacques Hittorf built the Mairie du 1er Arrondissement in the 1850’s, with the idea that it should match St-Germain l’Auxerrois.

The architect replicated the church’s architecture, but not its vaulted shape.

He also turned the town-hall into a striking eclectic building where neo-Renaissance, French Renaissance and Flamboyant Gothic architectural features beautifully blend.

But above everything else, the building is a perfect match to St Germain l’Auxerrois Church.

Hittorf indeed added balustrades, pediments, turrets, ionic columns, window frames richly decorated, high reliefs and an impressive rose window on the main facade.

He commissioned a series of statues representing the classical themes:

Justice, Kindness, and Law.

He built a porch with five uneven arches in order to match that of the church.

The interior of the town hall and the rear facade, which overlooks a polygonal courtyard, are both decorated with the same eclectic and lavish style.

A magnificent staircase leads from the entrance vestibule to the Salle des Mariages.

This Wedding Hall is regarded as the most spectacular room in the building.

It opens onto a vast terrace located above the entrance porch.

This terrace boasts prime views of the Colonne de Perrault in the Louvre.

The interior decoration includes also a wealth of sculptures, woodwork, a vaulted ceiling supported by Corinthian columns and allegorical murals representing the different stages of life.

These superb paintings were produced in the 1880’s, more than 20 years after the construction of the town hall.

Mairie du 1er Arrondissement de Paris – Belfry

As I wrote above, the Gothic Flamboyant belfry is part of the Mairie du 1er Arrondissement and not of the church, as so many think!

Mairie du 1er Arrondissement de Paris
Town hall and belfry

This misconception comes from the fact that it is connected to both buildings by a wall.

Two Gothic Flamboyant doors also lead into the square that separate the two buildings!

The architect Ballu built the four-story 38m high belfry in 1859.

The ground floor and first floor are square shaped; the upper floors are octagonal.

A spiral staircase located at the rear of the tower accesses them.

The belfry’s architecture is just as lavish as the main building.

You’ll therefore find a wealth of gargoyles, pilasters, statues and arched windows.

The ground floor is open with stained glass windows.

The 2nd floor includes a clock, a barometer and a thermometer.

Mairie du 1er Arrondissement de Paris – Chime

The chime of the Beffroi de la Mairie du 1er Arrondissement is considered one of the finest in France!

Its 38 bells allow it to reach three chromatic scales.

It was installed in 1884 and was in regular use until 1975.

It has since been fully restored and rings every day at 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

If you are in Paris on Wednesdays between 1.30pm and 2pm, you’ll have the chance to attend a free concert given by Renaud Gagneux, the official chime ringer.

This concert is very popular and the crowds gather on the Place du Louvre to listen!

Definitively something different, a bit off the beaten track!

Directions: 1st District – Place du Louvre
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli on Line 1
Coordinates: Lat 48.860035 – Long 2.341051

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