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When looking for a day trip from Paris that is dreamy and fairytale-like, head to the Château de Chantilly, France. The stunning castle reflected in its surrounding pond, the Grand Stables, beautiful gardens and the incredible art collection will keep you entertained for the better part of a day.
The Château de Chantilly From Paris: Practicalities
Where Is The Château de Chantilly?
Chantilly is about 40 km (25 miles) north of Paris in the Picardie region of France. Chantilly is a small town and also the name of the castle, Château de Chantilly.
What Is The Domaine de Chantilly?
The Domaine (Domain) de Chantilly refers to the exceptional Château de Chantilly, the grounds, and the Grand Stables. The Domaine de Chantilly covers 7830 hectares or 19 348 acres.
How To Get To Chantilly Castle From Paris:
To get to the Château de Chantilly from Paris, head to the Gare du Nord and purchase your ticket to Chantilly-Gouvieux. Alternatively use an app like Trainline and purchase your ticket online.
The train to get to the Domaine de Chantilly from Paris takes about 25 minutes.
Upon arrival, walk 15 minutes either through the little town of Chantilly or through the Chantilly forest (the shortcut). At certain times of the year, there is a shuttle that runs from the train station to the Château de Chantilly, but be prepared to walk.
Pro Travel Tips:
- The Gare du Nord is the biggest train station in Paris, be aware of travel scams and in particular pickpockets.
- Be sure you know the time that your train departs from Chantilly to return to Paris. They do not run all that frequently and you do not want to be stranded.
Driving to Chantilly from Paris takes a little over an hour, depending on the traffic. Take the A3 and/or A1 highway and then exit “Chantilly” or D316 and D317. It is highly recommended to use GPS.
The Domaine de Chantilly: Visiting Hours
From March 26 to October 21, 2022
The Château de Chantilly is open from 10 am to 6 pm (the grounds are open until 8 pm).
The Great Stables are open from 10 am to 6 pm
From October 22, 2022, to March 24, 2023
The Château de Chantilly is open from 10:30 am to 5 pm (the grounds are open until 6 pm).
The Great Stables are open from 10:30 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fees To The Château de Chantilly
A full-day adult entrance fee to the Domaine de Chantilly is 17€. This includes the Château de Chantilly, the grounds, the Great Stables and access to equestrian demonstrations and temporary exhibitions.
The Domaine de Chantilly has many different types of tickets such as family passes, 2-day tickets and tickets to special events. Check them out here.
Organize in advance and get your skip-the-line ticket for the Domaine de Chantilly.
Is this where whipping cream originated? Chantilly cream, known as crème Chantilly in French, is thought to have come from here, Chantilly. This sweetened, delicious whipped cream is found in French pastries and gastronomy!
What better place to savour Chantilly cream than at the Château de Chantilly. Join a workshop to make crème Chantilly at the Château de Chantilly (16€) or simply sample this creamy delight in the restaurant at the Château de Chantilly, La Capitainerie. You can also find waffles or ice cream and Chantilly cream at the food trucks near the entrance to the castle. And, there are many places to try Chantilly cream in the village.
The Château de Chantilly: A Little History
The Château de Chantilly from the time of the Middle Ages has had various princely owners. In 1643 the Château de Chantilly became the property of the Bourbon-Condé family. It stayed in the Bourbon-Condé family until it was bequeathed to Henri d’Orléans, the Duke of Aumale in 1830.
Henri d’Orléans, the Duke of Aumale, (1822-1897) was the son of King Louis-Phillipe, the last king of France. He rebuilt the Château after it had been destroyed during the Revolution and spent his life restoring and improving the Château de Chantilly. The Duke of Aumale’s castle at Chantilly was the perfect place to display his extensive collections of paintings and ancient manuscripts.
Without a direct descendent, Henri d’Orléans, the Duke of Aumale bequeathed his exceptional Domaine de Chantilly to the Institut de France in 1884.
Best Things To See At The Domaine de Chantilly
1. Le Château de Chantilly: Le Musee Condé
Henri d’Orléans, one of the greatest collectors of his time, requested that none of his paintings was ever to be loaned. When you wander through his seven galleries, all of Henri d’Orléans paintings are hung, just as he left them.
The musée Condé is indeed a marvel. In each room, the masterpieces are displayed against brilliant coloured walls, such as pink or deep burgundy, hung one above the other, exactly as Henri d’Orléans displayed them.
Look for the three paintings by Raphael, my favourite being The Three Graces. The Psyche Gallery displays 44 stained glass windows and the Stag Gallery is lined with eight magnificent tapestries.
Today, the musée Condé at the Château de Chantilly is the second most important art museum in France after the Louvre.
2. Le Château de Chantilly: The Large Suites
Wander through the Music Room, the Gallery of Battles, and the Prince’s Bedroom, and Office. Note the room called the “Grande Singerie” where monkeys (singe in French) are depicted doing human actions! All of these rooms are decorated in a sumptuous fashion with the opulence of royalty.
Being a bit of a gourmand, I loved the dining room! Talk about stepping into a grand event! With golden candle sticks, the handwritten menus are set by each place setting. Seven or eight courses, in the neatest of scripts, are etched in pen along with the name of the guest.
Pro Travel Tip: The private living quarters of the Duc and Duchess of Aumale are accessible by guided tour only.
3. Le Château de Chantilly: The Library
If you are a bookworm, you will love the Library at Chantilly. With over 60000 books and manuscripts, it has a reading room and books displayed on two levels. Rare, illustrated manuscripts are displayed beneath glass casings, perfect for examination.
Warning to all bibliophiles: leave yourself lots of browsing time.
4. The Gardens At The Domaine de Chantilly
The grounds at the Château de Chantilly are extensive. When planning your day trip to the Domaine de Chantilly be sure to allow time to leisurely enjoy the various gardens.
The French-style gardens surrounding the Château de Chantilly were designed by André le Nôtre in the 17th century. You may recognize his name as the man who designed the world-famous gardens at the Palace of Versailles. At Chantilly, le Nôtre’s gardens are symmetrical, with plenty of ponds, fountains and a Grand Canal. The reflections in the ponds are magnificent.
The Anglo-Chinese garden created in the 18th century houses a little hamlet of five houses which was the inspiration for Marie Antoinette’s hamlet at the Palace of Versailles.
Designed at the start of the 19th century, the English Garden is found between the Chantilly Castle and the Grand Stables. Look for the Temple Of Venus and the Island of Love. How romantic.
5. The Grand Stables At The Domaine de Chantilly
This is more than just a horse stable. Think grand. Think architectural masterpiece. Les Grandes Ecuries also houses the Museum of the Horse and an Equestrian troop that puts on shows (included in the entrance ticket.)
Nearby, the Hippodrome de Chantilly, or the Chantilly Racecourse, has been around since the 1840s. The stands are listed as historical monuments. That in itself makes me want to watch one of the almost 200 races that take place each year. The Hippodrome de Chantilly hosts two internationally renowned horse races each year – the Prix de Diane Longines and the Prix du Jockey Club.
Pro Travel Tip: If all this talk of horses gets you excited, you may want to book a horse trail ride through the Chantilly Forest or a sample ride around the racecourse.
6. Near The Domaine de Chantilly
A twenty-minute drive (or a one hour and ten-minute walk), from the Château de Chantilly, is the Château de la Reine Blanche, the Castle of the White Queen.
This small castle from the 18th century is a charmer sitting tucked away in the forest on the edge of the Loges Pond. It was used as a hunting lodge but my imagination goes straight to fairytales and romance!
Here in the Chantilly Forest are three ponds that were created by the monks of the Abbey of Chaalis. You can read about the Domaine de Chaalis in my Day Trips from Paris article.
Sit at the restaurant, L’Etang d’Art, and admire the small castle. If walls could tell stories! The restaurant is open daily from April 1 to November 1 and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays the rest of the year.
I hope you enjoy your visit to the Domaine de Chantilly as much as I did.
Until next time,
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