A little history of Aix-en-Provence knights of Malta's priory
A house for knights...
Here we are in the old house of Malta order: no more knights, too bad! Nowadays, the Granet museum occupied the place... Malta order moved here in 1180. They inherited Templars' goods, an order cancelled in 1308: they were rich. And mighty! The construction of the building, dedicated to st Antoine, dates back to the beginning of the 12th century. One century later, count of Provence Raymond Bérenger built a beautiful church for them. Emperor Charles the Fifth’s troops destroyed the house when Charles besieged the city in the 16th century. Reraised, it welcomed queen Mary of Medici in November 1600, on her way to marry Henri IV in Paris! In 1674, Jean-Claude Viany, the brave prior who also restored St-Jean-de-Malta church, reraised a new priory.
... transformed into a museum
But after the Malta order was cancelled during the Revolution, the city mayor decided to buy the old building, in 1825, to open a Fine Arts museum. In 1828, the Drawing school opened on the ground floor. On the first floor, they raised a vast gallery for the museum. A museum with count de Forbin's personal collection, director of France’s museums. But painter François Granet gave several piece of arts. That’s why they called it Granet museum! Granet was born in Aix in 1775: an art lover, discovered by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1793 when he went to Italy with his friend the count of Forbin. Soon he became director of France’s museums. Italian, Flemish, French paintings, archaeological collection (to learn more about the former Aquae Sextiae, former Aix, and Entremont's stronghold), 20th century paintings with Giacometti or Mondrian...