Verdun City Hall, which was purchased by the city on 18th November 1737 for a sum of 18,000 pounds, features some truly remarkable architecture and is also home to a museum dedicated to World War I.
Upon entering the city hall visitors find themselves in a courtyard, where they can also admire a fully-renovated Louis XIII-style work consisting of one main body with a campanile at its peak and two wings.
The pediment of the main body bears the following two dates:
- 1623, the year in which construction work on the building was completed
- 1898, the year in which the reconstruction of the building was completed after it was devastated by a fire on 12th September 1894.
To the rear of the city hall you’ll find a double staircase complete with balustrade leading down to the gardens, which are home to 4 ceremonial canons – the Marie, the Barbu, the Livie and the Berceau – which were given to the City of Verdun on 23rd November 1873 in memory of the bravery demonstrated by the people of Verdun during the 81-day siege of 1870.
In 1925, Deputy and Mayor Victor Schleiter requested that a special place be created where any documents from World War I could be preserved and put on display. As a result, the 3-room War Museum was opened. At the heart of the museum is the decorations room, which houses the eight medals presented by Raymond Poincaré along with other medals awarded up until 1929 and the Croix de Guerre (‘Cross of War’) 1939 – 1945, making Verdun the most decorated city in France, with a total of 28 medals.
To the one side of this room you'll find another room dedicated to Verdun, the ravaged city, and the French generals, which houses photographs of the destruction and items which belonged to the great military chiefs, among other things, whilst the room to the opposite side is devoted to the Livre d’Or and the ravaged villages and houses a series of Livres d'Or (Comments books) belonging to the soldiers of Verdun along with various certificates and Croix de Guerre medals awarded to the ravaged villages of the ‘Zone Rouge’ (Red zone).