This is not the first time (see previous post) I talk about this building, “La Rotonde de la Villette”, but after a long period of restoration it has recently opened to public. There is a restaurant and a bar and different facilities can be rented for meetings, expositions, cultural events …
The building was part of the toll barrier built in the 1780’s, just before the Revolution, “The Wall of the Farmers General”, which surrounded what then was Paris. Tax had to be paid for goods entering the city. A number of bars and restaurants (“guinguettes”) could be found just outside the wall, with “tax-free” prices. The unpopular taxes were abolished during the Revolutionary years, but rather soon again resumed. In 1860 it was decided that the surrounding villages – Belleville, Montmartre, Batignolles, Passy… (see map) should be incorporated and the wall disappeared. However, the payment of tolls remained until 1943, but the collect was displaced to the new Paris borders.
Until 1860, the toll had to be paid in some 60 buildings, part of the “Wall of the Farmers General”. Only four remain, Place de la Nation (“Barrière du Trone” – actually two buildings, see previous post), Place Denfert-Rochereau (« Barrière d’Enfer », also two buildings, see previous post), Parc Monceau (« Barrière de Chartres », see previous post) and this one, situated where the Canal Saint Martin and the Bassin de la Villette meet (« La Rotonde de la Villette », also referred to as « Barrière de Saint Martin »). (See previous posts about the Bassin and the Canal.)
“La Rotonde” became later a home for the municipal guard and even later – until 1921 – a salt warehouse, and then, until quite recently, it housed some municipal administrations.