It was Prince Pierre de Polignac, the grandfather of the current Prince Albert II, who was the first to want to finance the construction of a house at the Cité internationale. The Principality of Monaco made an initial donation in 1929 to create about 50 beds. Given the Principality’s small population, it considered merging with Colombia and Venezuela, then with Switzerland. But these projects were never realised. Prince Louis II relaunched his father’s project by creating a committee charged with collecting private funds to finance the building on the 10th of November 1930. The house was inaugurated in 1937.
The Fondation de Monaco is managed by the Fondation nationale Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.
The Fondation de Monaco has regularly been renovated and modernised with the support of the Principality of Monaco. In 2002, thanks to funding from both the Principality of Monaco and the Cité internationale, the architects Michel Mazuet, Alain Fournier and Thomas Longrin carried out the renovations to the living quarters in order to improve the interior comfort and to make the building safe. It has 77 rooms.
Albert Diato (1927-1985) was a Monegasque painter, ceramist and engraver. His works are on display in numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg.
The building was designed by Julien Médecin who distinguished himself at the Exposition of Decorative Arts in 1925 with a classic freestone style. In 1929, the architect’s first project privileges the art deco style with an exterior mural which would be set aside in favour of a working with a more classic freestone style inspired by Italian palaces and which was more conformative to a university building. The arts have always had a special within the Fondation and since its opening ten studios have been reserved for artists and musicians.
The residence is linked to the Maison des Provinces de France by a covered gallery which is closed today. The entrance is through a columned gate that bears the arms of the Principality, sculpted by Jean Boucher. The interior is sumptuously decorated, notably the art deco style Grand Lounge.