Her Excellency Corinne Breuzé has lived in her official residence since 2013, from the first day she served as French Ambassador to Indonesia, Timor Leste, and ASEAN. She informed Indonesia Tatler that it was her deputy who looked for the house before she came to the country. Nestled comfortably in the exclusive area of Menteng, the residence looks minimalist from the outside with a little garden adding a note of peaceful tranquillity to the serene atmosphere. However, inside, the 600 square metre abode is a bit more interesting as it is nicely decorated with Javanese ornaments and each room lets in plenty of natural light.
A timelessly modern architectural building decked in white-coloured paint, the two-storey abode boasts three bedrooms, a spacious living room, a dining room, a small office, and a swimming pool area. Once you step inside the residence, you will see a wooden entryway table, which is set against the background of a mirror, with a pair of Javanese wayang kulit (shadow puppet) sitting on top of it. To the right is a well-lit small room with a black piano in the middle, serving as the centrepiece. The portrait of the President of France, François Hollande, is placed atop the piano. Here, you will find another Javanese touch by the presence of magnificent statues of a Javanese bride-and-groom which lends the area a cultural and exotic feel. To the left is a hall leading to the living room, which is simply decorated with the French national flag standing side by side with the European Union flag. On the left side of the hall is a long, fully carved wooden panel which will surely mesmerise visitors and cultivate their admiration for Javanese craftsmanship.
Before reaching the living room, next to the wooden stairway leading to the second level, is a portrait of the King of Surakarta, Pakubuwono X, who lived in 1866 to 1939. This came as a surprise as there is another portrait painting of the King hanging beautifully in the living room, “It was one of my predecessors in the 90’s who managed to bring these paintings back to Indonesia. Before, it was hanging in one of our national museums in France,” said the French Ambassador, whose favourite city in Indonesia is Jogjakarta. In addition to the valuable paintings, there are some contemporary paintings from France in the living room. This spacious area, which consists of a white sofa and one set of wooden furniture complemented by a rectangular glass table, connects to a minimalist dining room with a seating capacity for four people. Here, some of the walls are painted red, “The red colour gives a warm ambience to the room,” she said. Moreover, “I also use this spacious room to host receptions, luncheons, and dinners.” For her personal life, the ambassador spends most of her time upstairs, “I prefer to work with my laptop upstairs rather than sitting in the little office.”
Another highlight of this modern minimalist living room is the high ceiling. Elaborating on the decorations for the house, the ambassador said that she brought many non-figurative paintings from France to Jakarta. Only, she chose not to hang them on the wall but has kept it elsewhere in the house. Moving to the outdoor area, the 3x15 metre square swimming pool is another interesting feature of the residence.
Prior to her assignment in Jakarta, the esteemed diplomat served as the French Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, “Jordan has been facing a crisis, as we all know. Compared to Jordan, Indonesia is very peaceful. Indeed, it’s an interesting country to explore. My favourite island in this country is Lombok,” said Her Excellency, who also speaks English, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic. She can also understand German. She concluded the interview by saying, “I have lived in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America, and now I live in Asia. It’s always nice to meet new people and learn about new and different cultures. And indeed, every experience that I have enriches my personality.”