Chantilly tour from Paris
The town of Chantilly (60631) is about 38 miles or an hour’s drive north of Paris. This makes a tour of the town’s castle a great day out for anyone visiting Paris and the surrounding areas.
Your chauffeur will take you from the center of the capital right to the gates of the castle and can also guide you around the most beautiful rooms in the building if you wish. Alternatively, your chauffeur can arrange for you to be met on arrival by an expert tour guide.
The origins of Chantilly castle date back to the Middle Ages. Guy Bouteiller de Senlis constructed a medieval fortress, crowned by seven towers and surrounded by a moat, on marshland in the valley of the Nonette, which is a small tributary of the Seine. Over the centuries various owners of the property succeeded one another but all were members of the Bouteiller de Senlis family tree: the Montmorancys (1484-1632), the Condés (1643-1830) and finally the Orléans family in the second half of the 19th century.
What to see at Chantilly castle
The castle’s reflection glitters in the vast expanses of water surrounding it and beyond them lies a magnificent French garden, designed by Le Nôtre and similar to those found at the Palace of Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Elsewhere in the park you will find a very pretty English garden and a ravishing Anglo-Chinese garden. The latter is laid out around 5 rustic cottages and it inspired Marie-Antoinette’s design for the Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles.
The small castle and the Grand castle
The first section of the building to be constructed was the small castle. Commissioned by Anne de Montmorancy le Connetable, it was built by Jeans Bullant in the 16th century. The second building, the Grand castle, was raised by Daumet in the 19th century on the foundations of the original medieval fortress. It houses the Condé Museum and Duc d’Aumale’s astonishing art collection, as well as his prestigious library. There are outstanding works of art displayed here including paintings by Raphaël, Clouet, Fra Angelico, Watteau, Nicolas Poussin and three works by Delacroix.
Among the Condé Museum’s exhibits are over eight hundred paintings by the Old masters, tableware, furniture and tapestries.
In fact, the Condé Museum houses the second most important collection of Old Masters after the Louvre in Paris!
The stables contain the Living Horse Museum. Created in 1982, this museum is the only one of its kind. 30 rooms display the exhibits based upon various equine themes such as horse riding, horses depicted in art, their welfare, horse tackle and so forth.
One of the equestrian highlights of France, the museum will delight all horse enthusiasts.
Chantilly cream may be world renowned but its origins remain a mystery. None of the many stories and myths surrounding its invention can really be authenticated. But they do say that this light and delicate whipped cream, which is so important in French gastronomy, originated in Chantilly at the time of the Prince of Condé, Louis-Joseph de Bourbon.