The Pine Residence literally “the palace of the Pines”, is the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon. The palace holds a particular historical importance since General Gouraud declared the creation of the state ofeater Lebanon on September 1, 1920 from its porch.
The Pine Residence was built by Alfred Moussa Sursock, The construction of “Qasr es-Sanawbar” began in 1916 under the supervision of the Sursock family architect Bahjat Abdel Nour and involved Amine Abdel Nour, Hussein al-Ahdab,Youssef Aftimus, Maroun Ghammacheh and Gaspard Nafilyan. The two-story building was completed in 1920 it consisted of a raised basement, a ground floor with a hall and a dining area, and an upper floor with game rooms. Nevertheless, the building never served as a casino because of the ongoing world war I; it was used as a military hospital instead.
It wasn’t long before the Lebanese Civil Warbegan and ambassador Argod was compelled to evacuate the embassy premises in May 1975 only to return by the end of 1976 until the Pine Residence was occupied by armed militias in 1978. Argod returned to the residence in late 1978 until the arrival of his successor ambassador Delamare in 1979. Delamare who lived in the Pine Residence with his family was assassinated a few meters away from the embassy by the Syrian regime on November 4, 1981.
Until the beginning of the 1982 Israeli bombardments, Ambassador Paul-Marc Henry still lived in the palace which was situated on the front-line of the Lebanese battlefield. The Pine Residence served successively as a field hospital for the French Army then as headquarters to the international observers.
At the end of Lebanese civil war, the French state recuperated the heavily bombarded buildings. The decision to rehabilitate the residence and to regroup all the services of the embassy in its proximity was taken during the service term of ambassador Jean-Pierre Lafon who arrived in May 1994.
The rehabilitation works were inaugurated by then president Jacques Chirac during his official visit to Lebanon in April 1996. The works which were overseen by Ambassador Daniel Jouanneau were done in May 1998 and the Pine Residence were inaugurated in an official reception headed by President Chirac on May 30, 1998.
The Pine Residence was classified as a historic monument by the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities.[