The main problem with the free exhibitions at the Hôtel de Ville is their popularity. Queuing becomes a test of stamina and often by the time you’re at the front of the line you long for a cup of coffee and a seat. Nonetheless, if you’re interested in Parisian history or in photography, the Doisneau exhibition running until the 28th of April is fascinating. Robert Doisneau is a photojournalist best known, interestingly enough, for his 1950 photograph of a couple kissing outside the Hôtel de Ville. You can now find inside the building his attempts at documenting the market at Les Halles, central to Paris life for over a hundred years, before it was moved to Rungis in 1969.
The difficulties Doisneau had photographing Les Halles are noted at the beginning of the exhibition: “lack of light, reflexes slowed down by tiredness, so many possible images! And it was intimidating.”