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Cocteau's Cote d'Azur residence open to visitors

French painter and poet Jean Cocteau's residence on the Cote d'Azur, decorated by the master himself, is being opened to the public.

travel Updated: Nov 23, 2011 18:51 IST
AFP

French painter and poet Jean Cocteau's residence on the Cote d'Azur, decorated by the master himself, is being opened to the public.

Jean Cocteau's floor mosaic is a fitting welcome to the Santo Sospir villa. This was the holiday home of Francine Weisweiller, the writer's patron. He came here frequently after they met on the set of the film Les Enfants Terrible in 1950. The villa, which overlooks the Mediterranean, is entirely decorated by Cocteau.

Soundbite 1 Eric Marteau, Manager, Santo Sospir villa (French, 16 sec):
"Cocteau and Francine Weisweiler immediately developed a friendship, a great friendship. Francine financed Les Enfants Terribles, and some scenes were shot in her home in Paris. And then she invited Cocteau here, to get a few days' rest."

A few days turned into 11 years. Enough time for the multi-talented artist to let his creativity run wild in the house he loved.

Soundbite 2 Eric Marteau, Manager, Santo Sospir villa (French, 19 sec):
"Cocteau felt so inspired here that he wanted to fill the walls with this inspiration. The white walls were a challenge, and as he wrote himself, he wanted to decorate those walls. And that's what he did, with Mediterranean colours."

Cocteau used his signature style, favoring Greek mythology, Apollo with fishermen, Diane with nymphs. He used every corner, every feature of the house as his canvas, right down to the furniture. A global work of art, now finally open to visitors.

Soundbite 3 Jaques Kimmel, Visitor (French, 19 sec):
"I'm discovering this house with great pleasure. I had no idea that such an example of Cocteau's decorative art even existed. Actually, I'm no great admirer of Cocteau, but I'm stunned by the quality of these drawings."

Cocteau died 50 years ago, but, with so many of his belongings in place just where he left them, his spirit lives on in this villa by the sea.

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