Why you must not miss Chantilly outside Paris


A dog may be man’s best friend, but the horse wrote history. 

Chantilly.   Oh what a lovely place to visit.

The Château de Chantilly, as seen from south.

The Château de Chantilly

  • 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.

For any bookings, itineraries or information from Paris  contact us

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.

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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.

The gardens are a great place to wander and picnic and the story of the Chateau itself is fascinating. It’s the sad tale of Nicolas Fouquet – Louis IV’s Finance Minister who got above himself and built this masterpiece as his own home with embezzled funds and then – stupidly- invited the King to a huge party to marvel at his triumph.
The King slapped Fouquet in prison where he languished and finally died whilst the King commissioned the building of the monumental Versailles Palace with Fouquet’s own master-craftsmen.  Don’t forget to climb up to the bell tower in the chateau for a superb view over the estate. I liked the holograms on the figures – very lifelike and clever.
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

Marché de Noël à Brest

Marché de Noël à Brest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“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


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One response to “Why you must not miss Chantilly outside Paris

  1. Pingback: What to do in Paris For the Seasoned Visitor « Travel Tips in France·

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