February 8, 2012

daydream getaway

February has me pining for travel, especially travel that involves the sea & sunshine. When my husband & I make travel plans nowadays, we often find ourselves reserving a room in a city or bound for the ocean, since we live in a small land-locked town in some of the most beautiful mountainous countryside to be found. Verily, I have found our bucolic life to be the perfect refuge, one that has created the framework to be a creative person & to feel closer to the natural world; but oh, to live the glamorous life & have homes in the city & by the seaside, as well as in the countryside!

With brisk winter weather I find the rarefied quality of the air & sunlight on the Côtes d'Azur, á la Jean Cocteau's La Villa Santo-Sospirflickering in my mind. Cocteau apparently found the region to be an inspiring refuge, with its combination of luxury & ruggedness, & its singular beauty. He created an abundance of murals & drawings for his friend Francine Weisweiller's villa in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, the setting for his 1952 avant-garde film la Villa Santo Sospir.

Cocteau's country home in Milly-la-Forêt, about an hour from Paris, bespeaks the eye of a poet, artist & filmmaker with lush colors & patterns, sculptural furniture, abundant art & cinematic table-top vignettes. Cocteau further illustrated his love for the region with chalk frescos swathing the walls of Chapelle Saint Blaise des Simples, where he was interred after his death. Both sites are open to the public for tours.

It's the house which was waiting for me. I am living in this retreat, far from the bells of Palais-Royal. It gives me an example of the absurd magnificent stubbornness of the vegetable kingdom. I rearrange the memories of former countrysides where I used to dream of Paris, as later I used to dream in Paris of taking flight. The waters of the moat & the sunshine reflect on the walls of my room their false shimmering marbles. Everywhere spring is jubilant.
–Jean Cocteau

Add on a jaunt to Paris, & you've covered all grounds...

Bon voyage!

more photos of his home in Milly-la-Fôret here
an interesting site for someone's art history thesis that has more photos & info on Villa Santo Sospir here

1 comment:

  1. I have just discovered your blog looking for tattoed walls by Jean Cocteau. What a treat!


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