'La maison Diamantée'

A diamond in the heart of Marseille

In the 2nd arrondissement stands the Maison Diamantée, the oldest building in the municipal heritage of the city of Marseille. Whether you are a local or just passing through Marseille, this building will not leave you indifferent. Let’s take a look at the history of this building, which is one of the most remarkable monuments in the city of Marseille.

An historic diamond in the  heart of Marseille

Located just  behind the city hall of Marseille, la Maison Diamantée got its name from its facade filled with pointed stone which in the  jargon, is called a ‘diamond point boss‘. It is one of the oldest residences in Marseille just like Hôtel de Cabre. Its construction date is  incertain but it is estimated between the end of the 16th century and beginning of 18th century. The building is built on the land of the former garden of the ‘ palais de Provence’ according to the wealthy Italians and Spanish merchants. Its amazing  architecture style was inspired from the Medicis in Italy.

During several centuries, the building was home to famous family from Marseille such as Saboulin Bollena and Castellane Majastre. At the end of the 19th century, port employees and Italian immigrants occupied the premises. A true vestige of the history of Marseille, it represents one of the last and rare symbols of the city of the past with its typical patrician residences of the time. Its past bears witness to the city’s openess to great trade and Mediterranean influences. On November 10th, 1925 ‘ la maison Diamantée’ was classified as a French historical monument.

A building saved from ruins

On the eve of the first world war, in 1914, la Maison diamantée is totally rundown and is saved from ruins. The cultural association ‘Art and charité’ buy it and later bequeathed it to the Comité du Vieux- Marseille. During the second world war in 1943, it escapes the destruction of the old districts ordered by the German authorities. From 1967 to 2009, it houses the  collections of the Vieux Marseille which have been moved to the History Museum of Marseille. In 2013, the building welcomed the organising association of Marseille Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture. Today, it houses municipal services and is not open to the public, but during your visit you can still admire the  staircase that magnifies the entrance. The diamond shaped-house is  located in the Panier district just behind the city hall. It is located at 2 street of the prison (2 rue de la prison – 2d district).