Market Place in Arras, c.1900

Market Day in Arras

c.1910

arras market

Hotel de Ville, Arras

c.1916

arras ww1

The first stereoview shows the Place des Héros in Arras c.1900. In the background is the city’s stupendous town hall, the Hotel de Ville. Construction on the hall started in 1463 and was completed in 1554 with the addition of a 77m-high belfry. Built in the Flamboyant Gothic style, the Hotel de Ville and its belfry were destroyed by the German bombardment of Arras in 1914. The town hall was gutted by fire on 07 October. The famous belfry collapsed at around 11.20am on the morning of 21 October after suffering artillery strikes. The cathedral had already been destroyed in July. Most of the Flemish Baroque houses surrounding the Place des Héros were also destroyed along with 75% of the historic city centre. After the war the town hall and the belfry were reconstructed in reinforced concrete. Externally at least the reconstructed building was very similar to the late medieval original with only small changes made to some of the tracery and a few of the window openings. The belfry at Arras is now part of the ‘Belfries of Belgium and France’ World Heritage Site.

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