I've been having serious post-Paris depression since returning from my trip. While London was fun, Paris will always have my heart. I'm more resolved than ever to spend a few months there next year, especially since it will mean having more time to explore. I did however manage to see a lot on my latest visit including Maison Jean Cocteau in Milly-et-Forêt with Cartier. Jean Cocteau was one of the first people to wear the famous Cartier Trinity Ring and Cartier also helped finance the restoration of Maison Jean Cocteau with Pierre Bergé, the President of the Maison Jean Cocteau.
"[It was] 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 stubbornedd 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 and the sunshine reflect on the walls of my room their false shimmering marbles. Everywhere Spring is jubilant." - Jean Cocteau, The Difficulty of Being
Jean Cocteau took refuge at his home in Milly-et-Forêt from 1947 to 1963. It's a modest house only a half hour from Paris that was originally one of the out buildings of the chateau that sits behind the moat beyond the garden. The pale grey color of the shutters perfectly plays off the limestone walls and you can see Cocteau at the house in many pictures below. You will also see how the leopard clad study has influenced a multitude of present day designers. Cocteau was friends with Madeleine Castaing who had a hand in the design of the rooms and arrangement of objects. Many pieces were given to Cocteau as gifts from famous friends such as Coco Chanel but also picked up on his travels. As many of us do today, he collected and mixed what he liked no matter if they were priceless antiques or silly souvenirs.
I'd like to think that Jean Cocteau was one of those creative people who could not be corralled into just one medium and that might partly be the case, but he was born into a very bourgeois family where he was expected to learn to draw and play music. Cocteau was not only a writer and artist but also a filmmaker who collaborated on music and design . He was friends with some of the greatest artists of his time which can be seem in some of the portraits that hang in the gallery spaces by Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.
There is nothing more inspiring than stepping foot into the home of such a creative person as Jean Cocteau and I thank Cartier for this amazing opportunity.
Jean Cocteau and Marlene Dietrich in 1947.
The main drawing room with Madeleine Castaing wallpaper or fabric walls.
The gold starburst above the mantle was a gift from Coco Chanel. The Chinese bronze deer were a gift from Francine Weisweiller.
This is the uniform Jean Cocteau wore to receive his Académie Française award in 1955. The sword that he had Cartier design for the occassion is being exhibited until February 16, 2014 at the Cartier: Le Style et L'Histoire exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris. More on this later.
The canopy bed is going into a file for my future children's room.
A pencil drawing of Coco Chanel by Jean Cocteau from 1930.
Andy Warhol portraits of Jean Cocteau.
The view outside from the stairwell.
The chateau behind the property.
Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic