Hôtel de Ville, Beaune

Town Hall in Beaune

Beaune Hotel De Ville
CC BY-SA 2.0 / ~Pyb

In 1626, the Ursuline sisters from Autun, part of a congregation founded in Paris in 1611 with a teaching mission, decided to establish a presence in Beaune. They acquired the hotels of Bernard de Montessus and Damas de Marcilly, which they transformed into their convent. The foundation stone of the convent church was laid on July 6, 1697, by Madame Richard, the elected dowager, and the superior Marie de Saivre, known as St Michel.

The church of the Ursuline convent featured a bell tower and was open to the public for mass. Its walls were adorned with statues, paintings, and fleur-de-lis, remnants of which were still visible in the 1940s. The Ursuline sisters provided education to the daughters of notable families within this enclosed complex.

In 1790, during the French Revolution, the convent was declared National Property along with other religious buildings in Beaune. By December 29, 1793, the municipal administration, needing more space, purchased the convent. Despite being sturdy and spacious, parts of the monastery faced deterioration, requiring significant renovations, including at least thirty thousand francs in repairs as per an 1810 deliberation. The chapel’s bell tower was demolished in early 1794 as it was at risk of collapsing.

However, the buildings were not immediately demolished. In an attempt to generate income, the city used the right wing of the convent from 1813. The Ursulines briefly returned in 1802 to continue their educational work.

A significant fire on June 28, 1815, led to extensive renovations, giving the building its current appearance. By 1818, the facade was decorated with regal and military symbols, including sculptures by Louis Bonnet. In 1824, a new street was created to improve access to the Town Hall, named after Maurice Emmanuel since 1939.

In 1828, the old chapel was divided, transforming one part into a reception and the other into a municipal council room. The north wing, built in 1850, later served various public functions, including as a village hall and a dance hall. A sundial was also integrated into the facade.

The former chapel housed the Museum of Fine Arts from 1871 until 2001, after which it became a reception room, inaugurated in December 2007. A war monument erected in 1896 was moved to the cemetery in 1954.

In 1936, a fire damaged the attic of the Town Hall, permanently affecting the stored archives. Several plaques and inscriptions on the monument commemorate significant historical events and recognitions, including the founding of the convent, the July Revolution of 1830, victories in the First World War, and a Franco-German summit in 1993. The site also won the European Grand Prix for flowering in 2006.

The Hôtel de Ville, Beaune appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Beaune!

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Visiting Hôtel de Ville, Beaune

Address: Hôtel de Ville de Beaune, Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, Beaune, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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