Visiting the Town Hall, Givet, France: Ornate, Louis XIII Style by Charles Goutant, Dating From 1903
Louis XIII-style for Givet's principal civic building
Dating from 1903, and executed in a combination of red brick and stone, the Town Hall - Hôtel de ville - at Givet, France is very much an ornate affair.
In Louis XIII style, one of its main features is its opulent grand entrance and stairway. A balcony and a tower immediately above the grand entrance serve to emphasize the imposing nature of the frontage, which faces place Carnot.
Ornamental stacking complements dormer windows serve to highlight square patterning; the roofing is uniformly in a steep slope (and thus would not qualify strictly as mansard in style).
The circumstances of its formal inauguration were interesting: as much a work of art as it is an office building, it was aptly inaugurated formally by the French Minister of Culture.
The architect responsible for the building was a prominent local individual from the Ardennes department, Charles Goutant (1847-1906)(1). Interestingly, this personality was probably as much identified with political life as he was with the architectural profession.
The periodic festooning of the building variously with flowers or flags — not unusual at French town halls — only adds to the sense of opulence which the structure radiates.
The works of local artists are regularly displayed in the building.
January 23, 2018
(1) Charles Goutant served as Senator for the Ardennes department from 1898 to 1906, associated with leftist radicals and anti-clericals, and noted as being active in freemasonry.
See also (in French): https://www.senat.fr/senateur-3eme-republique/goutant_charles0174r3.html ;
(in French) ;http://etudiant.aujourdhui.fr/etudiant/lieu/hotel-de-ville-givet.html
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
Givet itself has some interesting ecclesiastical architecture; the Tour Victoire has watched over the Meuse River since the Middle Ages; the monumental Fort de Charlemont overlooks the town; a nature reserve was designated in the Pointe de Givet at the end of the 20th century.
Dinant , Belgium (distance: 20 kilometres); this town on the Meuse River has an impressive, collegiate church, a fortified citadel and the Bayard Rock landmark.
How to get there: The nearest large, international airport to Givet is Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ; distance: 119 kilometres), Belgium, to which Brussels Airlines flies from New York. Car rental is available from Brussels Airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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