Versailles : Hôtel de Ville !!!

And great to be back, visually online to my beloved Versailles. I will update this post on the city/town hall as believe it is wonderful. This coming from the fact of the city of Versailles that 98% of visitors to the city just go to the palace; not surprise, but what a pity. Versailles has a lot more , I know. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the Hôtel de Ville of Versailles or city/town hall!

It was still sunny nice around here, and let me tell you about something I used to go not for visiting but did, mostly as a matter of civic duty. The city hall of Versailles!  Ok so on another nostalgic day let me talk again about my dear beloved Versailles. With all the wonders of my belle France, Versailles as a town to live or work  in has been the best; not that the other have been bad is just a ranking by yours truly….

The season came and gone, and I still remember the errands on the city /town hall of Versailles or mairie or Hôtel de Ville as it is known in Versailles. This is a lot more than a government building ,it has a wonderful history, and it is very well kept inside and beautiful.

The newer story  will tell you the city hall or Hôtel de Ville of today came from an order to have one in 1897 and finally done on November 18, 1900. However, it goes back way back on its history as a building. Let me tell you a bit of history I like.

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It’s in 1670, on the initiative of Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds ,Marshal of France , Governor of the kennels and the Louveterie of the king, which rises in the present 4  Avenue de Paris, a beautiful mansion whose gardens extend to the park of the Castle!. But the construction work of the Royal Stables (present-day National School of Architecture of Versailles) depriving the marshal of his royal perspective, he sells his hotel to the Knights of Lorraine. King Louis XIV acquired it in 1680 for Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vermandois, his legitimate son, who died prematurely three years later.  When the count died , the mansion became the home of his sister Marie-Anne, the Princess de Conti, who used it for great parties that were the toast of Versailles and that is why it was known as the palace of Conti!. Louis de Bourbon and Marie-Anne were Louis XIV children by his mistress Louise de la Vallière.

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The hotel was finally bought in 1723 by Louis XV to house Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé, Duke of Bourbon, Grand master of his house. Important works of decoration, where painters and sculptors compete in creativity and virtuosity, are undertaken under the direction of Robert de Cotte, the first architect of the king and disciple of Mansart. Like the princess of Conti, the duke de Bourbon organizes in his midst lavish receptions. It even opens the gardens to the public to facilitate communication between the thriving  Saint-Louis and Notre-Dame neighbourhoods!

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Unoccupied during the French revolution, the hotel tentatively welcomes in January 1790 , the city hall of Versailles, until then housed in the former royal furniture depot , current 11 rue des Reservoirs. From that time dates the extension of the rue Royale towards the Avenue de Paris. The building, which is entered by the Avenue de Berry (Current avenue du Général de Gaulle), is adorned with a belfry topped by a clock. In 1821 they were still there and the mansion became the official Hôtel de Ville. In 1859, the city officially became the owner of the hotel. The city hall is made up of two distinct parts: the first, along the rue du Général de Gaulle, looking at the castle, is a small building preceded by a large staircase.  The second, which looks at the Avenue de Paris, is an imposing neo-Louis XIII building.

So many older locals still call it the palace of Conti, proud that our city hall was a royal palace and with lots of tradition. The Hôtel de Ville is at the intersection of Ave de Paris and Ave du Gen De Gaulle , up from the rive gauche-château or left bank castle  REC C train station and  less than 300 meters from the Château de Versailles. On the right side facing the Ave du Gen de Gaulle there is a huge memorial to the fallen wall. The front of the Hôtel de Ville is magnificent ,and once you are inside in the main lobby you will see statues of personages of Versailles leading to a nice stairs to the upper municipal services offices , where the gorgeous marriage hall or salon de fêtes is located. The top  is shown as a dome from the outside. On the back there is a courtyard nicely mowed ,where the stairs comes out in the form of a horse shoe, and afterward a park like with trees very nice indeed.

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On the left side ,there is the firemen HQ for Versailles. Between the rive gauche-château train station and the Hôtel de Ville on ave du Gen de Gaulle, there is now a KFC restaurant, before there was El Rancho tex mex that we went to (see posts).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to this remarkable building:

The City of Versailles in French on its history: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/histoire-de-versailles/

The Tourist office of Versailles in English on the city hall: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/city-hall.html

So enjoy Versailles, like I said ,it’s a lot more than a castle.  The Hôtel de Ville is gorgeous. My kind of town. Hope you enjoy the post as I do

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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