Hôtel de Ville / Paris Town Hall

Arrondissement 4

Number 10 Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Jean-Victor Schnetz‘s painting of the July 28 1830 battle outside the symbolic Paris Town Hall shows both the Tricolor and a Red flag – with the words’ ‘Long Live the Charter’ on it. The July Revolution was about restoring a semblance of democratic bourgeois rights, with the threat of workers’ rights behind it.

Lamartine rejecting the red flag on 25 February 1848 in favour of the Tricolor representing the Bourbons (white), the Empire (blue) and the Republic (red).

At the next successful insurrection on February 25 1848, Henri Philippoteaux painted the republican Lamartine outside the Town Hall rejecting the Red flag and endorsing the Tricolor.

Citizens, for me, the red flag, I am not adopting it, and I’ll tell you why I’m against with all the strength of my patriotism. It’s that the tricolor has toured the world with the Republic and the Empire with your freedoms and your glory, and the red flag was that around the Champ-de-Mars, dragged into the people’s blood.

Alphonse Lamartine

On March 22 1848 a delegation of women activists from the ‘Women’s voice’ group went to the Town Hall to demand women have full citizens’ rights including the right to vote.

On May 15 1848 demonstrators against French intervention in Poland, including Blanqui, the worker Albert, Blanc, Cabet, Leroux and Raspail occupied the Town Hall and declared a new provisional government before being arrested.

Lamartine went on to order the brutal suppression of the June 1848 workers’ insurrection sparked by the government’s closing of the world’s first unemployment system with national workshops offering work paid by the state.

On September 4 1870, after Napoleon III’s capture at the battle of Sedan, Léon Gambetta stood on the Town Hall balcony and announced the end of the Second Empire and proclaimed the creation of a new Republic.

On 31 October Blanqui and others demonstrated in front of the Town Hall demanding more action against the Prussian army from the new government led by Jules Favre. A supporter on the inside unlocked the doors and the demonstrators occupied it.

On January 22 1871 Louise Michel was one of many who protested outside the Town Hall at the government’s inertia in face of the Prussian siege of Paris. the demonstrators were fired on and Louise Michel later wrote that this was the first occasion that she had fired back with her rifle.

On March 18 1871 the Thiers government first placed a regiment loyal to to it into the Town Hall overnight, and then attempted to seize all the canons in Paris. These events sparked the creation of the Paris Commune by the Central Committee of the National Guard on March 29 1871.

Retreating before the murdering Versaillais troops the Communards carried out their warning that they would burn down several of Paris’ historic buildings, including the Hotel de Ville

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