Château de Chantilly
Located an hour away from Paris to the North, the emblematic Chateau de Chantilly has been owned, from 1386 to 1897, by some of the greatest families of the French History among which the Montmorency, the Condé, and the Orleans.
Two major figures retain our interest in the history of Chantilly:
Louis II de Bourbon Condé aka « Le Grand Condé », cousin of King Louis XIV.
Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé aka « Monsieur Le Duc »
But Chantilly, as we know it today, we owe it to Henri d’Orléans, Duc d’Aumale whose fascinating life was as glamourous as it was tragic.
Year after year these actors of the castle’s life have contributed to its enlargement and to the constitution of one of the largest ancient painting collection of France (2nd after the Musée du Louvre). The print of art is such important on the Castle that it is also named “Chateau-Musée de Condé” grouping more than 800 paintings, sculptures, furniture…
At the 1st floor, the “Grands Appartements”, are relevant of the luxuriant XVIII’s century decoration and on the main floor, the “Petit Appartements” or Duc d’Aumale’s private appartments (visit only available with a guide) offer an unrestored decoration from the XIX’s century.
The castle also has a library and an archives room grouping 2500 drawings, 1500 manuscripts, including rare and precious medieval illuminations.
Outside 115 hectares where to walk enjoying the traditional French gardens designed by Le Nôtre at the end of the XVIIth, an English garden, a Chinese garden and a small authentic village called le “Hammeau” where a restaurant takes now place to serve deserts with the famous whipped cream : “Crème Chantilly”.
The Domain also offers a unique view of the Horses world on one hand by visiting the Horse museum and the Grandes Ecuries and on the other hand with the horses dressage shows (from February 2015) and the Kavallisté horses shows (from April 2015).
Chantilly remains closely linked to the horse’s world as is horse track is the scene every year in May/June for the Prix du Jockey Club (flat – 3 years old male and female Thoroughbred) and the famous and glamorous Prix de Diane (flat -female Thoroughbred). Chantilly was also featured in 1985 James Bond’s « A View to a Kill ».
This beautiful castle is located approximately 1 hour and half at the North of Paris with a car. Chantilly is the horse-racing capital of France and offers a classy combination of château, park and forst that has long made it a popular excursion. With origins in Gallo-Roman ties, the château of today started to take shape in 1528 when the famous Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France, has the old fortress replaced and added the Petit Château. During the time of the Great Prince of Condé (1621-86), renovation work continued and Le Nôtre created a park and fountains which made even Louis XIV jealous. The château is somewhat upstaged by the magnificient stables (Grandes Ecuries), an equestrian palace designed by Jean Aubert in 1719 which could accommodate 240 horses and 500 dogs. It is occupied by the Musée Vivant du Cheval presenting various breeds of horses and ponies and riding displays.