In 1151, the Guilhem family moved into a new palace, on the site of the present Palace of Justice, and Guilhem VII ceded the former seigneurial residence to the prior of Saint-Firmin. The place then hosted the chapter of the Canons (canorga, in Occitan) of the cathedral of Maguelone, who gave their name to the square: “La Canourgue”. The building was then destroyed several times during the Wars of Religion. Starting in 1626, the neighborhood was largely demolished and remodeled, and the project to build a new cathedral was launched on this site. The present square has preserved its foundations, still visible below. But the project was soon abandoned in favor of the restoration of the Saint-Pierre Cathedral.
The place was then redeveloped in 1665 to become one of the largest squares in the city. In 1676, the remaining houses were enlarged, connected and refurbished by Charles de Boulhaco, adviser to the Court of Auditors, Aids and Finance of Montpellier, who built his mansion there by erecting the facade that we know today in the alignment of the Place de la Canourgue. Its successive owners carried out many developments over the years, until it reached its current configuration: the labyrinthine building occupies the entire block, and offers a moving testimony of the various periods and architectural styles from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
The building was bought in 1816 by the municipality from the de Belleval family, descendants of Pierre Richer de Belleval, a famous botanist who founded the Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier and physician to Henri IV and Louis XIII. It became the City Hall of Montpellier, a function that it ended up fulfilling until 1975. From 1976 to 2010, it housed an annex of the Palace of Justice.
The gypsery room
In the "gypsery room" there is a decoration of great aesthetic and semantic richness, probably dating back to the construction of the building (1676-1678). Emblematic of the place,...