A dog may be man’s best friend, but the horse wrote history.
Chantilly. Oh what a lovely place to visit.
- The fairytale Château de Chantilly is a mansion built in 1528–1531
- This Grand Château, was destroyed again during the French Revolution
- the Petit Château, which was built around 1560 and houses a library which contains over 700 manuscripts and 12,000 volumes of books.
- There is the Musée Condé, which showcases a wax head of King Henri IV, the pink Condé diamond, works by Botticelli, Poussin and Watteau, as well as Renaissance portraits.
- The ‘living museum’, Musée Vivant du Cheval (closed till 2014 dammit for renovations) built by the Prince of Condé, who thought he would be reincarnated as a horse, is devoted to horses of the 18th-century.
- But for me the piéce de résistance is Les Grandes Ecuries or Great Stables which houses over 250 horses.
- A racecourse was inaugurated in 1834. In Chantilly, the French Jockey Club conducts races each year in June.
Chantilly is one of France’s best horse-training centres. The château and Great Stables were featured in the James Bond movie ‘A View to a Kill.”
Every day at 11am and 2.30 pm they put on training shows for the public of High Dressage which are breathtakingly beautiful to watch as well as Spectaculars throughout the year. http://www.ecuyeres.com
- The Grand Château is open from March 22 to November 1, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- The grounds are open 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
- The Living Horse Museum is open all year (as long as you go after 2014!!) From March 22 to October 31, it is open from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays. It closes at 6:00 pm on weekends. From November 1 to March 21, it is open from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on weekdays. On weekends it is open from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- Everything is closed on Tuesdays.
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Another heart-breakingly beautiful visit in the most famous chateau in the world – is the show on at the weekends at Les Ecuries or Royal Stables at Versailles.
Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte
Less equine but still a wonderful day trip from Paris. You either order a taxi, hire a car, or you take a train out there.
Which is why it is such an agreeable visit – very few tourists. The Carriage Museum is a lovely insight into 16th century elite carriages.
For any bookings or information contact us for bookings and itineraries from Paris
Pedantic equine fact: did you know that the French word for this roundabout pictured is not “Carrousel” as they are so often called, but actually un manège
“Carrousel” is technically Belgian and the French call ‘em les Manèges - technically….
If you are over 5 years old and in Paris then your equine opportunities are not just limited to these ersatz cheveaux on the manèges forains round Paris.You can experience the real thing on a live “Poney” as the French call them in the Champ de Mars astride a shetland.
You’ll find these long-suffering animals grouped under the trees in the park behind the Eiffel Tower, ruminating whilst their master waits for the next load of kiddies to clamber aboard for a stroll round the park.
If, like me you love horseys and you are a grown-up then do make a diary entry when next in Paris to see Chantilly, Versailles and Vaux le Vicomte