The Hôtel Léautaud de Donines was doubtlessly built in the 15th century by the merchant Jacques Grilho, an ancestor of the famous Grille family of Arles.
Over and above the wealth of those who commissioned it, the building displays an architectural shift from the end of the Middle Ages, at a period when, in the urban landscape, private homes on this scale (330 m² surface, on three floors) were not that frequent.
While the building has undergone a large number of modifications over the centuries, it has conserved its fifteen-century architectural fortifications on its upper level. Its general architecture is of the “tower-house” type, covered with a terrace. Now surrounded by a low wall, it was perhaps originally enclosed by merlons¹ and arrow slits. Certain noble houses at the time concealed their roofs with a sophisticated construction of machicolations² and battlements to create the image of a castle, both for its military appearance, and by association with the flat covering of a medieval tower.
On the top floor, there remain bay windows – inherited from Gothic art – with arches supported by small capitals, and which also feature trilobes³. Next to them, there can be found large crossed windows, whose style announces the Renaissance. The other two floors feature what are clearly eighteenth-century window frames, thus showing the remodelling that was carried out at the time.
The interior of the building has retained none of its original features. But a monumental fireplace that decorated the first floor has been donated to the Museon Arlaten.
Occupied by the younger branch of the Grille family until the Revolution, the house was bought in the nineteenth century by Comte Léautaud de Donines.
In the twentieth century, the building was acquired by the Banque de France which thoroughly modified the interior. Liberated from this use in the early 2000s, the building was then purchased by the municipality.
¹. Upper part of a parapet between two slits.
². Construction rising above the top of a tower or wall.
³. Upper part of an arch made up of three lobes.