Fairytale La Rochelle Hôtel de Ville reopens

The Hôtel de Ville in La Rochelle has always been a focal point of the town; its beautiful, fairytale battlements and circular towers must surely have inspired a million Disney movies.

The pale stone slabs of the exterior housed large halls lined in oak and hung with valuable oil paintings, massive, ornately-carved fireplaces, rows of chandeliers, antique furniture, glossy parquet floors, and hand-decorated ceilings.

It was an architectural treasure, but in June 2013 it burned down.

The fire started in a store room in the early afternoon but despite the heroic efforts of 80 fire fighters, it spread to the Renaissance wooden roof, which collapsed, and the building was in danger of being completely consumed by the fire.

Finally, however, the inferno was extinguished, and many of the ...

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