Proclaimed Historical Patrimony of the City of Granada, La Gran Francia is an Architectural Jewel that Exemplifies Nicaraguan Colonial Architecture.
The original construction of the building that would come to be known as La Gran Francia dates back to the first few years after the founding of the city of Granada, in 1524. This edifice, much more modest than the existing one, was a one-story home.
The stately home survived a deadly fire in 1856, which set by orders of the American filibuster, William Walker, practically destroyed the whole city of Granada. The building currently conserves the façade and general appearance of a reconstruction that added a second story to the building in 1865, around the time the burned-down city was also being reconstructed.
The casona owes its name to its most famous inhabitant, the French Duke, Georges Choisseul Praslin, whose dramatic story seems to have been taken straight from a novel. As the story goes, after murdering his wife, the Duke of Praslin, helped by King Louis Phillipe of France, feigns his suicide and moves to Nicaragua, where he lived in the city of Granada, in La Gran Francia.
In 1995, after years of abandonment, the southeastern wall of the house completely collapsed. During that same year, the arduous restoration of the building began, remaining faithful to the house's authentic colonial style, returning it to its original glory, which can today be enjoyed in its entire splendor.