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10. The town hall at La Courneuve and the surrounding areas, a fresh look

Italians, stars and a festive atmosphere.

Mairie de La Courneuve ©W.Vainqueur

Until the first half of the 19th century, La Courneuve is a completely rural village: the vegetables grown there are sold at the Halles market of Paris. From 1850 onwards, the town's landscape changes with the arrival of chemical industries.

The construction of the current town hall was decided in 1898. The local council decides to create a large central square for public events. Completed in 1921 after many years, the building alludes to the Northern European towns with its monumental architectural style and the Mediterranean with its tower bell. Seven large bay-windows light up the weddings' room, another the monumental staircase. The back façade, on Billaut street (current rue Gabriel Péri) used to have a special passageway for cars....nowadays the reception area!

Around the new town-hall, the neighbourhood develops with a new century in motion, mixing collective residential housing. Various information points help the wanderer understand the area better. In an effort to promote hygiene, the town hall orders the building of public baths in 1922 and in 1927 of a wash-house, open to the public two years later. A food market made of bricks and concrete sees the day in 1933. Three main buildings, constructed over a decade, witnessing of the importance given to public facilities in the new neighbourhood.

1934, the cinema L'Étoile is built, able to sit more than five hundred spectators. Flats are also converted on site to house the families of the owners, as well as a café belonging to Martin Frères. The cinema owned by the Martin Pérolino brothers comes to represent all the buildings completed by the Italians, who have settled in La Courneuve en masse (at the same time as the " Ritals " (colloquial and pejorative term for people of Italian origin) of Nogent-sur-Marne, which illustrator Cavanna refers to in his book. The baroque architecture, very ornate, is cheerful and fun, and " gives a festive atmosphere " to the site. Closed down in 1965, the cinema houses nowadays the Centre for Drama of the town. The current cinema in La Courneuve, on allée du Progrès, is called... l'Étoile.

Did you know ?

  • One of the first settlements of the town was instigated by Abbot Suger (the designer of cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis) in the 12th century: the Curia nova or curtis nova. The " new court " is made up of a small stately manor where justice is administered and around which farming houses are concentrated.
  • The Italians of La Courneuve. Between 1921 and 1931, the population of La Courneuve trebles. The Italian population of the town is multiplied by twenty and represents 7% of the local population (1 175 individuals).

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Useful information

Hôtel de ville
58, rue Gabriel Péri, La Courneuve

Getting there

By RER B : La Courneuve-Aubervilliers
By Métro, ligne 7 : La Courneuve-8-Mai 1945
By Tramway T1 : Hôtel de Ville

To find out more

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