“Out and about in Chantilly”
Chantilly, France. May-June 2019. (15 photos)
To the northeast of Paris is the town of Chantilly. From Gare Nord, the train ride to Chantilly takes about 40 minutes. Its claims to fame include Chantilly lace, Chantilly cream, its horse racing track, its equestrian history and the Château de Chantilly.
The woman sitting on the rooftop was enjoying the sun in her pyjamas, on her phone and smoking a cigarette. Many places are closed in France on a Monday, so this sight didn’t necessarily seem unusual for a Monday in France.
Surrounded by the Chantilly Forest the Domaine de Chantilly occupies 7,800 hectares. The Domaine is comprised of the château and its Musée Condé, the park and gardens, the Great Stables and the Horse Museum.
Approaching from the town, one encounters a massive grandly decorated building. Commonly mistaken for the château, it is in fact, the great horse stables (Grandes Ecuries). A masterpiece of 18th century architecture, it houses the Musée du Cheval (Horse Museum) with over 200 items and art works dedicated to the equestrian world. The Grandes Ecuries offers equestrian shows throughout the year and demonstrations daily. I stopped in there to confirm the time of the free equestrian demonstration and to buy my entry ticket, then moved on to visit the château.
“The Great Stables”
Looking back at the Grandes Ecuries.
“Château de Chantilly”
The first glimpse of the château is across the lake and it seemed to shine in the morning light.
“Inside the château”
Built in the 1500’s the estate belonged to the House of Montmorency in the 15th to 17th centuries, and the Château de Chantilly was home to the princes of Condé, cousins of the kings of France, from the 17th to the 19th centuries. However the estate’s importance in French culture is due to the work of Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-1897), fifth son of Queen Marie-Amélie and King Louis-Philippe, the last King of France. Considered as the greatest collector of his time, the Duke of Aumale, assisted by skilled advisors, built up a fabulous collection of precious books, paintings and decorative art objects which now form the Musée Condé, on display exclusively within the château.
The exceptional vast collection includes over 800 masterpieces by artists including Botticelli, Raphaël, Poussin and Delacroix, and a library and archive of over 19,000 works. The collection is considered second only to the Louvre in size and significance.
“The Hall of Honour”
“Far from the maddening crowds”
Maybe because it was a Monday, there weren’t many visitors on the day I was there. The photo above was taken at 12:30pm.
Quite a pleasant contrast to a day jostling the crowds at Versailles.
“Just a stroll in the park”
As expected, the estate gardens are vast and beautiful.
“Lady picking flowers”
On the estate is a hamlet of five small houses built in 1773, which served as the model for Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet in the Petit Trianon at Versailles. It’s near the restaurants. The food is OK there but the dollop of chantilly cream I got with my dessert must have been the largest I have seen and eaten for many a year. I necessarily took a brisk walk from there back to the Grandes Ecuries to watch the equestrian demonstration.
“Under the dome”
The equestrian demonstration was an insight into the world of dressage. Naturally, it was completely in french.
The horse was nicely presented. It had a beautiful mane, and a pretty face and a pony tail hanging down…
“Planet of the horses”
In the centre of the stable complex is a riding area, flanked by 2 massive statues of horse heads. Housed in the other side of the building is the Living Museum of the Horse.
“A day at Chantilly”
This is Part 5 of this photographic series and Part 3 of the posts about France.