After a client meeting this morning near Fontainebleau, I visited poet, writer, artist and playwright Jean Cocteau’s house in Milly la Forêt. Jean Cocteau bought this house in Milly la Fôret, 50kms south of Paris, in 1947, with the actor Jean Marais. He had been dreaming of swapping his Paris home (albeit in a beautiful location above the gardens of Palais Royale) for a place in the countryside.  The house he found was part of the estate of the Chateau of Milly la Forêt, and included outbuildings and a garden. He lived and worked in Milly la Forêt for 17 years, later aquiring Jean Marais’ share of the property. During this time he wrote the Testament of Orphée and Requiem, painted, and collected all sorts of objects, sculptures and paintings, photographs…For Cocteau, his house, decorated in collaboration with Madeleine Castaing, was a work of art in its own right, an expression of his work and tastes. Set elements from his films would frequently find their way into the house or garden.

On Cocteau’s death, his lover and heir, Edouard Dermit, closed three rooms – the living room and Cocteau’s bedroom and study,  leaving them untouched. The property was left to the Pierre Bergé Foundation and after some renovation, opened to the public in 2010. A selection of Cocteau’s drawings are displayed, together with work by Picasso, Warhol, Modigliani, Man Ray…

Visiting the house, you feel as if Jean Cocteau has just stepped out.

The Living Room

Jean Cocteau Milly la Foret

The Study

Leopard Print Study

Jean Cocteau’s bedroom. I love the way the four poster bed is placed in the centre of the room.

Jean Cocteau - Bedroom