The wattage of Catherine Deneuve’s fame, her trajectory through film history and modern culture as Belle du Jour and France’s Marianne to Grand Dame and Auteur creates dazzling refractions it’s difficult to see past to the woman within.
Deveuve has kept her ‘homes’ out of the public eye, they reveal too much, she puts herself into them creating houses that feel layered with love and memories. They are brimful with treasured collections and personal effects woven together with a sophisticated eye and assured ease. Her ‘grand dame’ house has recently been the focus of attention as it came up for sale:
The vast kitchen appears friendly, it’s the casual arrangement of units, haphazard displays and blasts of vibrant colours against country cream. Oh and that dart board in the corner, fun right?
An inviting sitting room or two, looking like they evolved gently, in sumptuous textiles and warm colours. I like the random tiny pair of pictures above the book shelves and the bauble chandelier which must have been bought chez YSL in Morocco alongside the light below, non?
There’s a Madelaine Castaing quality to this bedroom’s floral and rayured stripes which appeals and the carpet …well, I’ve seen it before. Deneuve’s previous Normandy retreat was photographed in another era, 1989, when she was France’s Marianne and the World of Interiors was declaring itself ‘the best glossy magazine in the world’.
Shall we go in…
Deneuve bought the long, low Normandy farmhouses when she was barely 20 as a retreat with her young son, 20 years on it has a burnished glow, a home to enjoy with the people I love. I love that she arrived with just a mixed pile of ceramics in hand and scrap of vintage blue fabric in her mind’s eye (still produced today).
She is a collector, having spent her childhood playing attic high amidst eccentric hoardes and vintage toys, her adult taste is on parr with the best of Isle sur la Sorgue‘s antiquaries: she loves Provençal things, and anything painted and 18th century whilst her foibled buying habits sound reassuringly familiar: I always seem to buy on impulse, especially when my finances are at low ebb. But what a hoard young Catherine stashed in her Normandy retreat…
The entrance halls just fits a chandelier, the corner cupboard and bench sofa are 18th century, facing them you catch a glimpse of the extravagent gilt console, out of sight bridal bouquets in glass domes, a curio touch? I also rather like how the curved stripes on the carpet echoing the hexagonal tonnettes beneath, highlighted below.
World of Interiors describes the interior as dotted with cane chairs, faded cashmere and cotton quilts, curios, gouaches and various small landscape paintings – objects chosen for pleasure rather than value. With … collections dotted all over: dogs in the bathrooms; in the kitchen – platters; in the corridors hats.
I think my favourite shot is of her dining room, where 3 glass walls commune happily with a mirrored rear wall and a glass topped table, she has grown jasmine, citrus, bougainvillea and passiflora in each corner and they spread across the ceiling on a green trellis, she loves to see the sky reflected in the surface of the table. Imagine the scent?
Upstairs her bedroom is charming and feminine, again with 18th Century provincial ‘Provencal’ furniture and classic French fabrics.
Her bathroom, follows her belief that ‘delicate’ areas need a ‘delicate’ tonality.
and outside, well it turns out Deneuve is a gardener too.
I just have a feeling that if you were looking for the real Deneuve, beyond the refracted light of her legendary beauty, her homes speak of woman who has lived well in under the graceful aegis of inner beauty.
Louis Vuitton 2007 campaign
Normandy chateau via HabituallyChic blogspot and Sotheby’s International realty
Normandy Farmhouse 1989 WOI