Travel Guide - Holidays & Tourism in the Essonne

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Milly-la-Forêt - Tourism in the Essonne

Nestling at the edge of the forest, at the heart of the French Gâtinais Regional Nature Park near to the Trois-Pignons massif, the village of Milly-la-Forêt enjoys a privileged geographical location. As well as this environmental advantage, it also boasts a beautiful architectural heritage: an old wooden covered market from the 15th century, where a market takes place on Thursday afternoons, 13th and 15th-century La Bonde Castle, with two castellated towers on either side, a stone bridge over the river and a picturesque wash house are some of the attractions to discover on your walk.

Not to be missed is the Chapel of Saint-Blaise-des-Simples, a relic of a former 12th-century lazaret, which is of special interest as it was decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1959. Nowadays the Roman edifice contains the artist's tomb, along with stained glass windows and frescos drawn by Cocteau illustrating the Resurrection, and a series of medicinal plants, as these were Milly-la-Forêt's speciality in the middle ages. Around the chapel is a beautiful herb garden, planted with mint, valerian, belladonna and other medicinal plants.

You can also visit Jean Cocteau's House, which has been converted into a museum and where you can visit his office, bedroom, workshop and main living room, on a journey through the memory of the French poet and illustrator.

The National Conservatory of Fragrant, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, on the Nemours road, is worth a trip for its museographic area and its superb plant collections, with over 1500 species!

Finally, don't leave Milly-la-Forêt without having seen the Cyclop in the Bois des Pauvres woods. This contemporary work of art by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely is both surprising and unusual. The gigantic steel sculpture represents a cyclops' head, stands 22.5 metres tall and weighs 300 tonnes!

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Milly-la-Forêt travel guide and tourist information
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