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Castle Chantilly and the Conde Museum

The Conde Museum is housed within the Chateau de Chantilly and spans a vast amount of rooms that are home to one of the finest museums of historical paintings in France today.

There are around 1,000 paintings, 2,500 drawings and 2,500 engravings, that are on display at this magnificent castle and a library that is full of rare books and precious manuscripts, in total there are around 30,000 books plus about 1,500 manuscripts held here.

The magnificent collection of art itself is second only to The Louvre in Paris and in fact, it is the only museum in France that can say that it has three paintings by Raphael, not including The Louvre museum.

Conde Museum

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Castle Chantilly and the Conde Museum

Cabinet des Livres The Book Room

The Cabinet des Livres or in English called the Book Room, was designed to house the Duc d'Aumale's library and to be a place for both reading and working and was installed between the years 1876 and 1877 in the 16th-century Petit Ch?teau

Designed by the architect Honor? Daumet, this structure has an upper gallery that is typical of library architecture in the 19th century and in contrast to the other rooms at this castle, the lay out was purposely designed to be very plain, yet functional, although there is a coat of arms on the ceiling.  The focus is therefore on the books which are arranged by subject plus the type and age when the books were bound.

The collection within the Cabinet des Livres, book room contains around 30,000 volumes, including 1,500 manuscripts and 11,500 printed books, which are mainly on the subjects of literature and history which are extremely rare, with having been sought after by collectors, even before the French Revolution.

Of the manuscripts, there are around 200 medieval manuscripts, many of which are illuminated and the oldest one actually dates from the 11th century, but being so precious, a copy of this is on display for visitors.

The collection of printed books includes around 700 books that were printed before 1501 and approximately another 2,500 books that were printed in the 16th century.  The collection of books that was donated by the Duc d'Aumale is the most important collection in France and one of the most famous and valuable illuminated manuscripts in the world called 'Les Tr?s Riches Heures du Duc de Berry' is the prize possession.

Galerie de Peintures

The Galerie de Peintures or in English called The Gallery of Paintings is a gallery full of beautiful and rare paintings that has a layout very typical of the 19th century museums and the Duc d'Aumale stated in his will that he wanted the layout to stay the same.

It is a large room that is well lit through an overhead glass roof and the works of art are exhibited frame by frame on red picture rails without any chronological order. You will see art from Italy and Italian painters on the left wall and on the right wall are paintings from French painters.

The Gallery also contains numerous historical French portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries, including military paintings that the Duc d'Aumale had acquired over time, along with art that was originally commissioned to go into the Chateau de Versailles.

The Conde Museum of the Chateau de Chantilly is also the home of more than three hundred and sixty portraits, which date from the 16th century and include a large number of preparatory drawings for the paintings that are displayed in the Salle Clouet.

The Salle Clouet, or in English known as the Clouet Room, displays French Renaissance portraits including those from the Royalty in the 16th century and includes King Francois I, King Henri II, King Charles IX and Queen Catherine de M?dicis, just to name a few.

And the collection of historical paintings that were produced before 1850 which are at the Conde Museum is the second largest collection in France, only being beaten by the Louvre.

There are other rooms within the museum housing a wonderful collection of antiques, not just paintings, such as the Salon d'Orl?ans, which holds a fantastic and rare collection of Chantilly porcelain.  Another such room is Le cabinet des Gemmes.  This room holds the pink diamond that is a precious stone of exceptional size and colour, which is known as Le Grand Cond?, because he had the gem set on the pommel of his walking stick.

You will also find fantastic architecture like the wood panelling in the Cabinet d'Angle, furniture such as the incredible chest of drawers in the Princes Chambers and tapestries like the hunting tapestry hung in The Galerie des Cerfs where the Duc d'Aumale used to entertain guests in this large dining room known as The Stag Gallery.

The Cabinet des Dessins houses one of the richest collections of drawings and engravings in France and the Conde Museum also has an important collection of photographs, with around 1,400 that date from the 19th century and reflects the different steps in the history of photography.

The Conde Museum, which is situated in the Chateau de Chantilly is a fascinating place to visit and is less than an hour from Paris.  So with the immense History of Chantilly that you can discover within the museum, along with the beautiful gardens, the Chantilly Castle itself and the Grand Stables, you will have a very pleasant day in a place that is not very well known in comparison to Chateau Versailles or The Louvre.

Unfortunately no animals are allowed in the chateau or the grounds.

There are audio guides available for hire at a cost of €2 that provide a commentary on the galleries of paintings, the chapel and the Cabinet des Livres and there are also audio guides available specifically designed for children also at a cost of €2.

Address & Contact Details:

Chateau de Chantilly & Mus?e Cond?
BP 70243

Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80

Group information and reservations
Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80

Conde Museum

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