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Natural cement based plaster of Marseille: identification and restoration

Natural cement based plaster of Marseille: identification and restoration

Programme start: 2011

CICRP: Philippe Bromblet

Partnership(s): French Heritage Partners Circle, Historic Monuments Research Laboratory (LRMH) (director), VICAT SA

The object of this programme is to tackle questions of restoration for facades decorated with natural cement based plasters in the Marseille region by proposing a restoration plaster suited to the supports and with colours and textures close to those of these 19th-century plasters.

It includes an examination of the sate of conservation and nature of the natural cement based plasters on Marseille facades, a documentary study on this industrial activity of the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as visits to quarries (Roquefort-la-Bédoule etc.) and factories (ovens) to sample and analyse the raw materials in order to carry out the rare analyses found in the literature.

Facade decoration

Natural cement: facade decoration of the Eglise de la Mission de France carried out in 1860

by the company Désiré Michel, rue du Tapis Vert, Marseille (photo Philippe Bromblet)

The CICRP has participated in the sampling campaign and management of a documentary research initiative on the history of the manufacture of natural cements from the Marseille region.


  • ‘Les enduits à base de ciment naturel à Marseille : Identification et restauration’, literature survey carried out by Claire Valageas, research analyst at the French Heritage Partners Circle, 2011.
  • ‘Histoire de l’industrie des ciments naturels dans la région de Marseille’, presentation by Claire Valageas for the ICOMOS technical days (2 and 27 April 2012, Paris) Les ciments naturels dans le patrimoine européen : histoire, propriétés, applications et conservation.