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Chateau De Chantilly, Picardie, France

France: Picardie – Chateau de Chantilly

There are many amazing chateaus in France, but one of our favourites is the Chateau de Chantilly located 40km north of Paris, not too far from Charles de Gaulle Airport. The building itself is small compared to the likes of Versailles or Fontainebleau, which is a good thing in our opinion, but it is architecturally interesting and its setting with a lake surrounding three sides makes it stand out. It is also beautifully furnished, escaping many of the ravages of revolutions.

THE CASTLE

The building was conceived by Henri d’Oleans, Duke of Aumale, the son of the last king of France, Louis Phillipe. This prince was a renowned collector of art masterpieces and valuable manuscripts, and Chantilly became a showcase for his collections. In 1886 the Duke of Aumale bequeathed the Chateau and his collections to the country. Today, everything largely looks as it did in Aumale’s time.

The Chateau de Chantilly has two parts. The first was built by the Montmorency family in the 16th century, this is called the ‘Petit Chateau’. The second part is a 19th-century addition called ‘Chateau Neuf’ which was built on the site of part of the original castle that had been destroyed.

The Chateau de Chantilly
Creative shot with lampost
The main entrance
The Chateau de Chantilly has a lake on 3-sides

The Chateau is entered by some very impressive gates that lead to a second courtyard and the entrance to the main building.

The Petit Chateau mainly consists of living accommodation, whilst in Chateau Neuf you’ll find an amazing library with an incredible collection of books, art galleries and a chapel.

We loved the State rooms, including a large dining set out for a state dinner, and the lavishly decorated salons and apartments with furnishings from the 18th Century.

The highlight for most visitors to the Chateau de Chantilly is the chapel with its spectacular painted ceiling and stained-glass windows that let the light flood in.

The dining room
A state room at the Chateau de Chantilly
The gallery of paintings
The library

The highlight for most visitors to the Chateau de Chantilly is the chapel with its spectacular painted ceiling and stained-glass windows that let the light flood in.

The outside of the chapel of the Chateau de Chantilly
The inside of the chapel

THE GARDENS

Beyond the Chateau, the gardens of Chantilly are well worth exploring. They are an excellent example of formal French-style gardens and are beautifully manicured. The original design of the famous landscaper, Andre Le Notre, the creator of the gardens at Versailles, is still faithfully retained.

Some of the more unique aspects of the gardens are a large number of water features. The Chateau does not have a moat, instead, it has lakes to the front and rear. The gardens have several large ponds, reminiscent of English-style gardens of that era. The garden also includes a small hamlet, like the Queen’s hamlet at Versailles, built in the 18th Century as a ‘garden feature’ in the English Chinese Garden.

THE GRAND STABLES

As you approach the Chateau de Chantilly from the town you cannot miss the Grand Stables building. It is definitely the poshest stables I’ve ever seen! Designed by Jean Aubert for Louis-Henri Bourbon the 7th Prince of Conde, this is a palace for horses! This 186 metre long stable, considered the most beautiful in the world, was built between 1719 and 1735. This is a truly wonderful building, and worth a visit even if you are not a horse person. Inside the Grand Stables is the Museum of the Horse which we did not have time to go to during our visit to Chantilly. The Grand Stables is home to an equestrian troop that puts on shows throughout the year. If you visit during the day like we did, you can see the array of beautiful horses that perform during the show, including some cute, tiny Shetland ponies and some cheeky donkies.

Right next to the Grand Stables is the Chantilly racecourse. The first race here was held in 1834. The course’s grandstand was designed by honoured architect Honore Daumet and was constructed in 1879. In recent years during the renovations at Longchamps race course, Chantilly hosted the prestigious Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe race.

The Grand Stables of Chateau de Chantilly
The donkeys at the Grand Stables

Planning your visit to Château de Chantilly

By car:

The  Château de Chantilly is 20 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and 40 km from Paris.

From Paris: A3 and/or A1 motorways exit “Chantilly” or D316 and D317 (40 km from Paris)

From Lille and Brussels: A1 motorway exit “Senlis”.
GPS coordinates (DD): Latitude: 49.193846 Longitude: 2.485203

By train:

From Gare du Nord SNCF main lines get off at “Chantilly-Gouvieux” station: 25 minutes
OR RER line D get off at “Chantilly-Gouvieux” station: 45 minutes

By from the station:
Bus
The DUC
Bus N°645 to Senlis
Free shuttle “La Navette Touristique” (all weekends and French public holidays)

By foot: About 25 minutes

By taxi: 5 minutes

By bus: About 10 minutes

Address:Chantilly, France
Website:https://chateaudechantilly.fr/en/
Telephone:T: +33 3 44 27 31 80
Hours:

From 26 March to 21 October 2022 :

The Château is open from 10 am to 6 pm / 8pm for the Grounds

The Great Stables are open from 10 am to 6 pm

From 22 October 2022 to 24 March 2023 :

The Château is open from 10:30 am to 5 pm / 6pm for the Grounds

The Great Stables are open from 10:30 am to 5 pm

Latest access 1 hour before ticket desks close
Closed on Tuesdays

Fees:

1 day ticket (visit the château, grounds and great stables). Adults €17, Youth (7-17) €13.50

2 day ticket (visit the château, grounds and great stables). Adults €23, Youth (7-17) €18

Family ticket €48

For ticket prices for horse shows click here

Best time to visit the Chateau de Chantilly

When is the best time to go to Chantilly? Here’s some information to help you in your decision:

  • The best months for good weather in Chantilly are May, June, July, August, September and October
  • On average, the warmest months are July and August
  • The coldest months are January and February
  • The rainiest months are May, June, July and December

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