In the picturesque ambience of the lake Chantilly castle shines in the exquisite royal charm. Though geographically in Picardie, castle Chantilly is only 1h away from Paris. Giving charm to the town of the same name, this is an excellent day trip from Paris. It’s also a fantastic alternative to Versaille and less busy choice.
I discovered it through instagram deciding to go right away.
The aerial view is just marvellous and you will see the impressive art collection.
About the history
Château de Chantilly consists of the castle with its Condé museum and gardens. The horse museum is also inside the property. One of the largest forests around Paris surrounds the castle.
Petit Château was built in 1560 for Anne de Montmorency, the French noble. The second building or Grand Château was destroyed during the French revolution and rebuilt in the 19th century.
In the 15th century Montmorency family had the castle in their hands. After the death of Henry II the Montmorency in 1632 it got the ownership of his newphew- the Grand Condé.
Moliere’s play- Les Precieuses ridicules- got the first performance here in 1659.
After the reconstruction the entire property became under the Orleans family during 1853 till 1872. It was also in the ownership of the English bank Coutts. In 1889 Institute de France took the possesion of the castle. The main reason was the exile of the Duc d’Aumale.
The further restoration follows in the 21st century due to the appeal of the World Monuments Fund. Water infiltration and high humidity caused the process.
How to come and how to buy the tickets
Fantastic offer at their official website includes package of the Castle + Train ticket and was my leading sign. In reality it was pretty challenging to get that package. I was searching for the machine that sell so-called Grand Lignes but in vain. Beyond my excellent French I was pretty sure that package exists. Searching for the human encounter I got to the wrong one.
Finally I found the right human encounter but the line was huge. Hurray, I got the ticket. For 25€ I got the return ticket and castle entrance.
The train goes from the Gare du Nord and takes less than 1h to arrive to Chantilly.
From the train station just follow the signs through the forest and after 20 minutes you’ll be there.
What to see in the castle
Lovelly alley pass first by the Horse Museum leading to the castle.
Condé museum hosts the exquisite paintings, I specially liked how elegant everything looks without exageration. Collection of paper artwork is pretty impressive.
Italian and French masterpieces prevail among which paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Antoine Watteau and others. It’s the second largest collection of antique paintings in France, after the Louvre. The drawings come in the huge numbers together with the manuscripts from the library.
The alluring shine of the garden starts with the lake and continues with the canals at the green area. Watering the plants was done by the huge canals. French landscape garden continues with English one.
Today, the castle hosts various events like the International fireworks, a rowing regata in May and others. Several films were shot at the castle ground like A View to a Kill of James Bond.
About Chantilly town
At this lovely town you can visit the gracious church, marvel the lace at the Musée de la Dentelle or enjoying Chantilly forest. Visiting the Prince’s Vegetable Garden (Potager des Princes) gives a charming stroll through Japanese garden. It’s the place where animals dwell like peacocks, hens and parakeets.
When in Chantilly, don’t miss the famous Chantilly creme and enjoy your coffe or ice-cream.
The fairy-tale castle brings the relaxing atmosphere and artistic heritage. It’s an excellent day trip from Paris and a chance to experience a bit of Picardie. Who doesn’t dream of the castle by the lake?
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