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Escape to the Fairytale World of the Domaine de Chantilly

Created by immensely talented artisans and the inspiration behind Versailles, the Château de Chantilly has been rich in intrigue and glory since 1528. Its long history is reason enough for a break here, but we’ve listed 10 more below.

We love Chantilly because it’s:

  • Iconic
  • Romantic
  • Royal
  • Full of surprises

With its moated castle, French-style gardens, museums and record-breaking stables, Chantilly is breathtaking. And nestled away in the forest surrounded the peaceful countryside of Hauts-de-France, it’s also the place for restful getaways. Expect the royal treatment!



Wander the estate’s impressive pathways



The history of Chantilly is part of French DNA.

Reflected in its water features, this prestigious castle seems tranquil today but was one of the locations for some of France’s most dramatic history across the centuries, from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment, from the Revolution until it was inherited by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, in 1830 and expanded to house various collections. It welcome Louis XIV, writer Jean de La Fontaine and all the big cheeses of the French court.


Admire an architectural jewel

Contemplating beauty takes us on an internal journey – one that makes us listen to our own emotions and thoughts, given that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. So let yourself be beguiled in by this fairytale castle, this Versailles of Hauts-de-France reigning over its 115-hectare parkland. Whether you arrive via the Rue du Connétable or the forest, the majestic ‘swan on the water’ can’t fail to make a lasting impression on you.


Be moved by the collections in the Musée Condé

This series of rooms filled with furnishings bearing witness to the sumptuous life of the castle, and the rich collections of paintings, prints, drawings, books and artworks, also inspire contemplation. They’re all arranged in chronological order in the style of 19th-century museums, as the Duke d’Aumale decreed.

Within these galleries you’ll come across some of the most famous paintings by Raphaël, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Poussin, Watteau and Ingres, which combine to makeChantilly one of the foremost collections of ancient paintings after the Louvre. Make sure to linger in the sacrosanct Sanctuario to admire Raphaël’s most iconic, artistically perfect painting, ‘The Three Graces’, with its divine beauties in a work radiating calm. All works are here in perpetuity and displayed according to the wishes of their collector the Duke d’Aumale, who remains the very soul of Chantilly. More than a museum, you’re visiting a house – a unique feeling.


Explore a paradise for horses, famous for its excellence in dressage

It’s wonderful to know that there’s a place where these prestigious skills are being conserved and passed on. In Chantilly’s Grandes Ecuries (Great Stables), high-level equestrian arts have been practised for more than two centuries. Today, equestrian shows of international scope are hosted beneath the majestic Dôme – to the delight of children and adults alike.

The estate where the château resides is also a haven for horses – but in this case it’s racehorses: thoroughbreds who you can see training every morning on the famous Lions track. This is a whole other kind of show that completes Chantilly’s renown as the ‘European capital of the horse’. But in fact anyone can enjoy the castle estate from the unique viewpoint of the back of a horse by booking a ride on a locally bred, very docile Henson.


Switch off and find inner peace

Removed from the lively streets of the town itself, you’ll find an almost rural calm in this magical realm of relaxation – one that will awaken or reawaken your senses. Because Chantilly offers yoga sessions amidst paintings by Grand Masters during regular wellbeing days in one of the Musée de Condé’s iconic rooms – a new way of taking in artworks. Afterwards, you can make the best of the gardens’ lovely vistas and switch off from daily cares by practising Qi-gong – a Chinese discipline that balances yin and yang – beneath the trees.


Take an oxygenating, contemplative walk through the gardens

Choose between different gardens in the château parklands, all dreamy. There are a full 115 hectares in which to breathe and ruminate! Among the highlights are the one designed by André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s gardener: of all his gardens, which include Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly was his favourite by far. This grand French-style parterre is certainly the most dazzling here, with water features that reflect the sky, pools and fountains, and a sprinkling of statues. The Anglo-Chinese garden is also poetic in the way it highlights nature by making it wilder. And romantic souls love dallying in the English-style garden with its temple to Venus and island of love.


Sample some famous Chantilly cream

Chantilly is the grand lady of creams, loved by gourmets and gluttons alike! Noble, refined, unctuous, mild and sweet, it’s a treat for the tastebuds. Nestled away in the vast parkland, the Restaurant du Hameau is the place to discover the inimitable taste of true crème chantilly, which is seldom served elsewhere, in the very place where it was invented 300 years ago. If you fancy learning how to make it, the Confrérie des Chevaliers Fouetteurs de la Crème Chantilly (‘The brotherhood of whipping knights’!) offers workshops in how to whip some up and earn yourself a certificate.


Bring children to try the array of activities blending culture and nature



The château is brilliant for little wanderers, with specially designed family activities. The fun booklet helps kids explore the vast castle and gardens, sending them in the direction of the maze and the kangaroo enclosure, for instance. In the Grandes Ecuries, family-friendly shows – which you need to book in advance – feature riders showing off their talents. You can also introduce kids to the fascinating world of horses with a visit to equestrian museum, where there are real-life ponies that they can pet. And in the Potager des Princes (Princes’s Vegetable Garden) right by the château, there’s a dwarf farmyard with animal breeds from around the world and extraordinary shows including concerts by percussionist hens, sheepdog demonstrations and rabbit races!


Celebrate special occasions

Weddings, fashion shows and other joyful celebrations and events are held at this castle described by Henri IV as ‘the most beautiful house in France’ – a venue that adds an even greater intensity and sense of joie de vivre to life’s stand-out moments. This enchanting, idyllic estate gives you the opportunity to taste life in the château, offering a variety of spaces with something to chime with every emotion.

STAGE n°10

Be inspired by a place of creativity

The fascination that the Domaine de Chantilly has held for artists from the 17th century onwards is easy to understand. La Fontaine, La Bruyère and Madame de la Fayette rubbed shoulders here, and Molière even performed his Tartuffe at the castle. The Duke d’Aumale’s wish was always to provide a place for art to come alive. We know that 20th-century artistic giants Picasso and Bacon were influenced by paintings in the Musée de Condé, especially works by Poussin (Picasso Guernica being the most famous example). And its gardens and surrounding forest inspired ‘Les Rêveries d’un Promeneur Solitaire (Reveries of the Solitary Walker) by naturalist philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Film directors have also fallen in the love with Chantilly as a movie location.