July 5, 2012
Moulin du Jardinier
From painters, poets, writer and sculptures, over the centuries the Cote d’Azur has attracted many an artistic genius to its lands. Filmmaking is another artistic genre that has been drawn to this sensational region of southern France.
The late David Lean was one such film director who was unable to resist the unique charms of the Cote d’Azur. The English firm producer and screenwriter, who is best remembered for his legendary screen epics, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), A Passage to India (1984) and Doctor Zhivago (1965), owned an idyllic luxury retreat on the French Riviera known as Moulin du Jardinier.
The story goes that Lean fell in love with the derelict 15th century ruin, tucked away inconspicuously within a seven-acre garden in Mouans-Sartoux, a medieval town desirably located between Grasse and Cannes. Lean’s love affair with the ancient ruin allegedly began whilst the filmmaker was working on the screenplay for Nostromo in St Paul de Vence.
Lean restored the mansion to a standard that has been described as ‘almost clichéd Provencal beauty’, with its old walls scattered with wines.
Internally Lean’s Cote d’Azur retreat is said to merge baronial chic with bohemian opulence, being vast and open-plan where grand stone archways separate mighty rooms with staggeringly high ceilings where the eye is drawn to extravagant chandeliers. A huge canopy in the house is believed to pay homage to David Lean, which sits beside a mural of the snow palace from Dr Zhicago.
The mansion’s renovations were supervised by David Lean’s sixth wife, Sandra Cooke, with the special ‘woman’s touch’ being particularly evident in the master suite, which features a four-poster bed wrapped in linen drapes, two bathrooms each with Greco-Roman murals and one with a frescoed roll-top bath.
Four separate French windows overlook the property’s extensive grounds and let the sweet aromas of the roses, cypresses, avocado and cherry trees give this luxurious Provincial bedroom in even greater touch of utopia.
“All I want to do is lie on the grass and look up through the ancient olive trees to the blue sky above,” Lean reportedly remarked when seeing the terraces laced with olive trees that surround the ancient olive mill.
It is also reported that the late film director would enjoy throwing many a party for his family and movie star friends on the huge terrace of his Cote d’Azur mansion where they would wine and dine on cuisine made from the fresh produce of the local Mouans-Sartoux market.