In the past, it was called Old castle, Old palace, Old city hall... It was founded by Bernardin de La Valette, lord of Coppadel, newly appointed governor of Espalion. The sir wanted a house worthy of his new social standing! He was allowed to destroy a piece of the city wall, but the castle he raised had to resist in case of war... That's settled!
But when La Valette died, his descendants were forced to pay a very big sum to the city... why? Because La Valette borrowed money to Espalion city, but he never paid back! Then the castle became the city hall. At the end of the 18th century, it housed the courthouse. The city hall moved a bit further, in buildings raised in 1897. The Old palace (Vieux Palais) nowadays houses cultural exhibitions.