Otherwise known as Palais Rohan, Bordeaux City Hall was built in 1771 in the elegant Louis XIV neoclassical style. It was where celebrated painter Eugène Delacroix discovered his calling in the 1780s, fascinated by the Pompei-style trompe l’oeil fresco in the dining room. What was simply an archiepiscopal residence at the time would later on be used as a revolutionary tribunal under the Reign of Terror in the 1790s, before it welcomed Napoleon I in 1808 and became an imperial residence in the process.
It wasn't until 1836 that Palais Rohan officially became Bordeaux City Hall. Today, the building is surrounded by lovely English gardens and houses the Bordeaux Fine Arts Museum, one of the largest art galleries in France outside of Paris. It specializes in French and Dutch paintings (including Renoir, Delacroix and Picasso), a number of which were thankfully recovered after being looted during the French revolution.
Palais Rohan is located right by the Saint-André Cathedral and the Pey Berland belfry, in the heart of the historic district. It is easily accessible on foot or by tram via route A and B (stop Hôtel de Ville stop). Parking in the center of Bordeaux is relatively easy thanks to the many underground parkings – the easiest one for Palais Rohan being Parking St Christoly/ Pey Berland. Daytime rates (from 7AM to 8PM) are €2.40 per hour and the nighttime (between 8PM and 7AM) flat rate is €3.50. Exploring the grounds of the City Hall is free of charge; the gates are open between 8:30AM and 6PM from Monday to Friday. Visiting the interiors requires booking a French-speaking guided visit, which is scheduled every Wednesday and Friday at 2:30PM and 10AM respectively, and costs €5. Visiting the permanent collection of Bordeaux’s Fine Arts Museum is free of charge, while temporary exhibitions cost €5.