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Chateau de Chantilly In Ile de France

In a previous article we were looking at visiting some castles and chateaux that are situated around Paris and there are quite a few to choose from, far more than you would probably expect right near to a cosmopolitan city and of course the most well known of these is the Chateau de Versailles.

But we thought that we would take a more in-depth look at one of the lesser known palaces called the Chateau de Chantilly that is on just as grand a scale with phenomenal history and remarkable museums - yes you read correctly, as it has more than one!

This was also one of the settings for the James Bond film called A View to a Kill starring Roger Moore, along with other places in Paris that were in the film such as the Jules Verne restaurant at the Eiffel Tower.

The Chateau de Chantilly is a beautiful castle that is situated in one of the largest forests, with the estate covering an area of approximately 7,800 hectares and has a park of around 155 hectares, plus is only an hour away from Paris making this place very popular with tourists.

Chateau de Chantilly In Ile de France
Chateau de Chantilly In France

From the Middle ages when construction started on this chateau, it passed via inheritance from person to person through different branches of the same family where they were all related in one way or another, and each heir had improvements and new structures built.  That is, until it came to the Conde family who eventually bequeathed the estate to the Duc d'Aumale.  But this is where the legacy came to an end, as both his Son's had died in battle at the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.  So the Duc d'Aumale bequeathed the entire estate of Chantilly to the Institut de France on the condition that it was opened to the public as a museum, and this is exactly what happened a year after his death.

Although the history of Chateau de Chantilly is fascinating in itself and there is so much that one can learn about this magnificent palace, but what most people don't realise is that it is home to one of the finest museums of historical paintings in France called the Conde Museum. In fact, it is the only museum in France to have three Raphael paintings not including The Louvre, which is probably the most famous of all the museums in France.

Cabinet des Livres or book room is actually a magnificent library, that contains around 30,000 volumes and also includes about 1,500 manuscripts of which there are around 200 medieval manuscripts, many of which are illuminated and the oldest one actually dates from the 11th century, which is the prized possession.

Within the Chateau de Chantilly there are numerous rooms housing a wonderful collection of antiques, not just paintings, such as the Salon d'Orléans, which holds a fantastic and rare collection of Chantilly porcelain, plus there are the private rooms from the Duc and Duchesse d'Aumale, known as the Petits Appartements, that you can view just as they were.

Back then the majority of us were still suffering filling up a tin bath from water heated over a wood burning fire, but incredibly, after the year 1886, the Petits Appartements were centrally heated, lit by gas and there was hot and cold running water in the bathroom!

Within the grounds of Chateau Chantilly there are the Grand Stables, which is where you will find the Musee Vivant du Cheval also known as The Living Horse Museum. The 31 rooms of the Musee Vivant du Cheval, spanning over a surface of 4,000 square metres and having an 800 metre track, this museum is one of the most visited equestrian places in the world and a must-see for all horse lovers.

Plus, as an added bonus they hold equestrian shows and demonstrations with horses and riders every day of the week except for Tuesday, which is when the whole of the Chantilly estate is closed and you even have the chance to book themed dinner shows, such as for Christmas festivities.

Andre Le Notre designed the gardens at this castle with beautiful fountains and the canal, just as he had for other palaces like the Chateau de Versailles.  Also in the grounds you can see the Jeu de Paume, which was a real tennis court and one of the last to be built in France when construction began in 1756, but this is now a museum room holding some very large paintings that would not fit anywhere else!  There are also other buildings such as a chapel and the grounds are a great place for a stroll to watch the swans, birds nesting and lots of other wildlife.

The Chateau de Chantilly is open every day except for a Tuesday and is open until later in the evening during the summer months.  However, the ticket offices always close around an hour before the whole place closes, although we would say that to really appreciate this place for all its glory and the fantastic museums, it will make a great day for all of the family.


Chateau de Chantilly



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