Maison Diamantée (Diamond House)

Historic Building in Marseille

Maison Diamantée
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Guiguilacagouille

La Maison Diamantée, standing just behind the City Hall in Marseille, is one of the city’s oldest residences, akin to the Hôtel de Cabre. The exact date of its construction remains uncertain, but it is estimated to have been built between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. Positioned on the site of the former garden of the ‘Palais de Provence,’ the building was developed by wealthy Italian and Spanish merchants. Its striking architectural style draws inspiration from the Medici buildings in Italy, featuring a façade adorned with pointed stone known in architectural jargon as ‘diamond point boss.’

Over the centuries, La Maison Diamantée has been home to prominent Marseille families such as Saboulin Bollena and Castellane Majastre. By the end of the 19th century, it served as a residence for port employees and Italian immigrants, making it a living piece of Marseille’s history. This building is one of the few remaining symbols of the city’s past, showcasing the typical patrician residences of the era and reflecting Marseille’s legacy as a hub of major trade and Mediterranean influences.

On November 10, 1925, La Maison Diamantée was classified as a French historical monument. By 1914, on the brink of the First World War, the building was in a dilapidated state but was saved from ruin by the cultural association ‘Art et charité,’ which later bequeathed it to the Comité du Vieux-Marseille. Remarkably, it survived the widespread destruction of the old districts ordered by the German authorities during the Second World War in 1943.

From 1967 to 2009, it hosted the collections of the Musée du Vieux Marseille, which have since been relocated to the Marseille History Museum. In 2013, the building played a role in the Marseille Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture, hosting the event’s organizing association. Today, La Maison Diamantée houses municipal services and is not open for public tours. However, visitors can still admire its magnificent staircase and the exterior’s unique architectural features while strolling through the Panier district, located at 2 rue de la Prison in the 2nd district.

The Maison Diamantée (Diamond House) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Marseille!

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Visiting Maison Diamantée (Diamond House)

Address: Maison Diamantée (La), Rue de la Prison, Marseille, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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