During the French Revolution, the Square in front of City Hall was used for public executions ( a total of 79 beheadings occurred here). By 1886, the building had been designated a historic monument. Along one side of La Place des Terreaux is Bartholdi’s “Char Triomphant de la Garonne” fountain depicting France as a female driving a chariot pulled by four wild horses (which represented the four great tributaries of the Garonne River). This fountain was originally destined for the city of Bordeaux but was eventually purchased by the mayor of Lyon in 1892 when Bordeaux could not come up with the money to pay for the fountain.
Today, L’Hotel de Ville and La Place des Terreaux have been designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites .