Chantilly , a magical fairy tale !!

Let’s talk about a magical fairy tale city I love, and been there several times with family and believe or not on business once! I am talking about magical Chantilly !! I like to update this older post for you and me ;which originally written in my black and white series, no pictures. However, by the time of posting it I found some similarly old pictures in my vault of the beautiful interior of the Domaine /Castle of Chantilly ,not in my blog until now. This was a few years back, on a special visit as I am Friends of the castle/condé museum since 2008! Therefore, enjoy once again the wonderful magical simply awesome Chantilly!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Chantilly is in the département of the Oise,60 in the region of Hauts-de-France at the center of the forest of Chantilly, in the valley of the Nonette. Historically, it is part of the old region of Valois. Chantilly is located about 39 km southeast of Beauvais, 79 km south of Amiens and 38 km north of Paris.

Very good roads in and out on the crossroads of France to the north of Europe. The old N16 or old royal route from Pierrefitte-sur-Seine to Dunkerque passing by Amiens, cuts the city south to north ; now it is the D1116. The D924A allows you to joint the old N17 or route de Flandres at La Chapelle-en-Serval, and the D924 connects you to the town of Senlis. From here you can join the autoroute A1. The train station of or Gare de Chantilly – Gouvieux, opened in 1859 on the line Paris – Lille, service by the SNCF and the network TER Hauts de France ; these are lines Paris-Nord – Compiègne – Saint-Quentin – Busigny, line Paris-Nord – Creil – Amiens, and line Paris-Nord – Creil . Chantilly is located about 30 km from Paris-CDG airport and about 54 km from Beauvais Tillé.low cost fly airport.

Ok so let’s go on a tour of Chantilly. First, the racecourse /Hippodrome on flat races with the prestigious prizes of the Jockey-Club and the Diane.It is managed by the group France Galop even if the Institut de France is the owner It opened in 1834 but the current run trails are from 1879.The big stands were built in 1881 making them the oldest in France. The old weigh building was built in 1891,and the committee stand or old stand of the Prince (main one) was built in 1911.

Of course, the Castle ! built for the constables Montmorency later residence of the Condé , and finally the Duke of Aumale,fifth child of Louis-Philippe,king of the French who bequested it to the Institut de France.The castle was built in two parts : Petit Château and the Château Neuf. The first one petit or small was built in 1560 for Anne de Montmorency. 18C decoration and renovated in the 19C. The second one or neuf =new was built between 1876-1882 and has the painting galleries, libraries, as well as Chapel. A gallery built in 1840 connects the two castles. The castle is surrounded by a very nice forest park of 115 hectares where 25 are on water. You can see the big lawns done by André Le Nôtre,the Anglo-Chinese garden done between 1772-1774 on which center you find the village of Chantilly, the English garden done in 1817 around which there is the temple of Vénus ,and the parks of Cabotière and Sylvi. Inside, the castle you have the Museum or musée Condé with one of the best collection of ancient arts in France, and second only to the Louvre. The museum has a collection of about 1300 manuscripts of which there is the famous The Three Rich hours of Berry . By will, this collection cannot modified in its presentation or loaned according to the last will and testament of the Duke of Aumale to the Institut de France.

Chantilly castle escalier d honneur c2008

Chantilly castle hall c2008

Chantilly castle cabinet de livres library c2008

Chantilly castle salon 1 c2008

Chantilly castle bureau c2008

The big stables or Grandes Écuries,where you have the living museum of the horse or musée vivant du cheval.These were built between 1719-1740 with a cupola dome of 186 meters of 38 meters high ,allowing for hosting 240 horses and 500 chase dogs. You can see dressing demonstration and horse shows here. The gate or porte Saint-Denis is an unfinished part by the entrance to the stables or Grandes Écuries on the other side; Church of Notre Dame side.

Along the Nonette river there is the building of the pavillon de Manse built in 1678 to house an hydraulic machine. The use of it was to push the waters of one source, falling to the reservoir at open air, and from there distribute the water to the basins fountains and cascades, water games decorating the gardens of the Grand Condé, designed by Le Nôtre. Next to the pavillon de Manse there was a building built in the 20C to stock and supply the Castle and town of water and to house an industrial laundry that you can still visit.

The vegetable garden of the Princes or the potager des Princes is an old garden of Phesandry built in 1682. By 1773, Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé change it to the Roman pavilion or pavillon Romain aka salon de Rafraîchissement (refreshement room). It was split from the domain during the French revolution and became private property and a horse clinic. All was restored by Yves Bienaimé, also the creator of the museum of the living horse and opened to the public in 2002.

The parish Church of Notre Dame was built between 1687- 1691, on the plans of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and under the direction of Pierre Gittard. It was consecrated in March 1692 ; later enlarged in 1724. By 1854,it was renovated on the right lower atar to house the hearts of the Princes of Condé taken from the old Chapel of the castle during the French revolution. They were returned to the Chapel in the Castle in 1883.

The mansion or Hôtel Lovenjoul, built in 1730, located in the semi circle of the officers house at 23 de la rue du Connétable. Bequested to the Institut de France in 1906. It housed the library of the Viscount Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, with about 1 400 manuscripts written in the 19C and stamps giving to the Institut. In 1987,the collection was taken from the library to the Institut de France Paris,and the Hôtel Lovenjoul sold to private persons. It can be seen for its architecture.

The table of Montgrésin is on the south of the forest limiting the territory of the city and Avilly-Saint-Léonard, in the middle of the traffic circle on the route between La Chapelle-en-Serval and Chantilly. This table de Montgrésin or table of the king in stone dates from 1669-1670 according to the plans of André Le Nôtre. It is a sacred place of the hunting, traditional rdv for the depart of hunters from the Prince and its successors of the chase. It was ,also, a place where the Prince welcome the visitors at the entrance to their domain like in 1671,when the Grand Condé hosted king Louis XIV.

There is so much in architecture here, that walking and seeing is believing in my belle France. Some of my favorites are the Hôtel de Beauvais, located at 12 rue du Connétable, the oldest in town built by Anne de Montmorency in 1539 to served as resident to the captain of the hunt etc ; the Hôtel Quinquempoix,built in 1553 at 50 rue du Connétable, Hôtel d’Andigné de la Chasse, at 74 rue du Connétable ; the Chapelle Sainte-Croix, aka Mother Mary ,one of seven Chapels built on orders of Anne de Montmorency from 1534 to 1538; the others are Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Croix-en-Jérusalem, Saint-Jean, Saint-Paul, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Sébastien, and Notre-Dame.

A bit of history as brief as possible that I like:

Chantilly was mentioned in an act around 1223,between Guy IV de Senlis and the priory of Saint-Leu-d’Esserent that mentioned for the first time the Terra cantiliaci (or Cantilian lands). It was in 1282 that it mentioned the forest around the two found on a parliament act of Paris. Then, in 1358, we hear of the first mentioned of a castle ,its destruction while the local wars and its reconstruction by 1394. By 1673, the Grand Condé ordered built a new road of Gouvieux that is today the rue du Connétable, the lands on each side are what it is the first inhabitation of the town, shops for the builders and trademens of the castle and domestic housing. The Grand Condé writes a wish on his will to built a Church not far from the castle ,and is son Henri Jules de Bourbon-Condé fulfilled the wish of his father in 1692 by ordering built the Church of Notre-Dame , and a parish subject to the bishop of Senlis. However, it is his grandson Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé,that is credited as the real founder of the city and the first map of it by mapping the axe on the route de Gouvieux, that is today the Grande Rue. Upon the beginning of the construction of the Great stables or Grandes Écuries in 1721,the Prince created in 1727 the lots at the end of the road which were later the officer’s houses under the French revolution.

At the French revolution the Condé’s were amongst the first ones to escape just after the taking of the Bastille July 17 1789. The domain was taken over from 1792 and sold in lots ! with the first one sold between 1793 and 1795 ; the old vegetable garden, the cascades garden, the last lots available along the current rue du Connétable , and around the current lawn and all houses belonging to the Prince ; many of which will never come back to the family. The rest of the domain is divided in lots in 1798 and sold thereafter. The castle is turned into a prison from 1793-1794. Followed by the sale as national asset in 1799,and changed into stone quarries with only the small castle or « petit château » preserved. The stables or Grandes Écuries were taken by the army where they are house thereafter from 1803-1806 and other regiments from 1808-1814. By 1815,the Prince Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé returned to his castle or what is left of it; he gets back some and buys the rest. His son Louis VI Henri de Bourbon-Condé has installed in town the fountains in 1823 and a great part of the streetlights in 1827.

By 1834, the lawns of Chantilly welcome for the first time horse racing with stands , improved over the years to the one you see today. Before the start of WWI in 1912 the first prize Jockey Club was held . This horse racing ambiance brought many British families as jockeys, trainers, helpboys becoming about 76% of the workforce here and creating a community by with even an Anglican Church was built in 1870. This horse tradition brought many wealthy families of the time over to Chantilly to build big mansions such as the Rothschild at Gouvieux. As well as the building of luxurious hotels such as Grand Condé 1908 .At the castle , the Duke d’Amale rebuilt between 1876 -1882, and enriched it with the best collections of Art at the times while receiving famous visitors such as the emperatrice of Austria Élisabeth, dite Sissi,Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch of Russia etc it was opened to the public in 1898 and later bequested to the Institut de France, the current owners.

By September 3 1914,the Germans entered the town but spares it all leaving the next day. Even with the occupation of the castle they did not destroyed anything! After the Battle of the Marne ,General Joffre installed the HQ army here as it was good transport by train from Paris ;this is done on November 29 1914 while Gen Joffre lived at the mansion Villa Poiret,a few meters from the castle main. He brings the allies to the conferences held here December 6-8 1915 to determine the course of action in the war in 1916. The Army HQ leaves the city in December 1916 for Beauvais. Chantilly host a ambulatory hospital for the wounded in the front located at the mansion or hôtel Lovenjoul as well as Pavillion Egler. The land lot of Aigles, just outside city limit at the town of Gouvieux host an aviation squadron of the French army coming from 251 Étampes-Mondésir from and until the peace was signed in WWI. The Nazis entered the city again in September 13 1940 and stayed; using the Grandes Écuries as veterinary hospital for their horses while the HQ is set up at the hotel or hôtel du Grand Condé . The city is liberated by American tanks on August 31 1944, and later the 8th US Air Force set up HQ at the same hôtel du Grand Condé.

The best information ,other than I ,,,,,,are the tourist offices.

The Official Domaine de Chantilly:

The Friends of Chantilly Condé museum for reference:

The Chantilly tourist office on its heritage :

The city of Chantilly on heritage:

There you go folks, a must to visit while in France ! All worth it at magical Chantilly, one of my friends of the castle property I am member of, and glad to do so since 2008. Again, hope you enjoy the post and even more the visit to Chantilly.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

Tags: ,

2 Comments to “Chantilly , a magical fairy tale !!”

  1. There used to be a fireworks festival at the château.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: