Paris Hotel de Ville Offering offices for the city’s mayor as well as a number of other city administrators, the location of Paris’ Hotel de Ville (City Hall) has served as the center of Parisian government since 1357, when the land was purchased by merchant Etienne Marcel. The original building, the maison aux pilliers (house of pillars) served the city’s administrators until 1533, when it was torn down by order of King Francis I, who decided to erect a city hall worthy of Paris, then Europe’s largest city. The resulting building was designed to reflect the spirit of the Renaissance, and was not completed until 1628, during the reign of Louis XIII. The building played a visible role during the French Revolution and in the years immediately afterward, when revolutionary leader Robespierre was arrested at the Hotel de Ville, along with his followers. During the late 1800s, the building was expanded and reconstructed, incorporating the works of more than 230 sculptors into the final design. The Hotel de Ville has always remained front and center in French politics. When Charles de Gaulle made his famous speech marking the Liberation of Paris in 1944, he greeted the crowds from the front window of the Hotel de Ville.