The castle's history is long and impressive. Among its former residents were the enormously wealthy High Constable Anne de Montmorency (chief minister to Francis I and Henry II), and the Grand Conde, a military genius who hosted Louis XIV for a three-day feast and theatrical in 1671 that was dramatized in the film Vatel starring Uma Thurman and Gerard Depardieu. Poor Vatel! He'll go down in history as the most dedicated of caterers, knowing that he threw himself on his sword when a fish delivery from Paris failed to turn up. By the time it arrived, Vatel was dead.
The Galerie de Peintures is typical of the lay out of 19th century museums, whether public or private. The Duc d'Aumale stipulated in his will that he wished to keep this exhibition lay out. It is a vast room with bevelled corners, lit through an overhead glass roof. The works of art are exhibited frame by frame on Pompey Red picture rails, as a function of their format, without any chronological order. On the left wall, there are paintings by Italian painters, or works which were executed in Italy (Poussin, Dughet), while the right wall displays paintings from the French school.
The Gallery contains numerous historical French portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Mazarin or Richelieu by Philippe de Champaigne. Some were owned by the Conde family (portrait of Mademoiselle de Clermont, sister of the Duc de Bourbon, by Nattier, 1729). The portrait of Marie Antionette, Dauphine, in 1773 by Drouais was commissioned by Louis XV for the Chateau de Choisy.
The Dejeuner d'Huitres (the Lunch of Oysters) by J.F. de Troy and the Dejeuner de Jambon (the Lunch of Ham) by Nicolas Lancret (1735, on either side of the steps leading to La Rotonde) were commissioned by Louis XV for the dining room in the Petits Appartements of Versailles.
Neo-classicism (Gerard, Les Trois Ages, 1806, Caroline Murat collection) and Romanticism (Delacroix, Les Deux Foscari, 1855). The Duc d'Aumale, who had lived in Algeria, was fond of Orientalism (right wall) and particularly Alexandre Gabriel Decamps, but also Horace Vernet, Marilhat, Ziem and Fromentin (Chasse au Heron en Algerie, 1865). The Duc d'Aumale, a former general, also acquired military paintings by Meissonier (Les Cuirassiers, 1805) and Alphonse de Neuville.
The architect Jean Aubert was commissioned by Louis-Henri de Bourbon, 7th Prince of Conde, to build the grand stables. Legend has it that the prince thought he would be reincarnated as a horse, so he wanted stables that would reflect the majesty of his rank. Thanks to him, France boasts an architectural masterpiece of the 18th century.
At that time, the stables hosted 240 horses and 500 hounds, split in different packs for the daily hunting sessions that took place all year long. Louis-Henri was so proud of his architectural wonder that he organised sumptuous dinners under the monumental dome which soars 28 meters high. Louis XV, the future Tsar Paul I and Frederic II of Prussia attended some of these dinners which were usually accompanied by hunting horns.
The French Revolution put an end to these princely times; however the grand stables were miraculously spared thanks to the army who used them as barracks. Only two statues were destroyed: the statue and fountain of the "Kennels Courtyard", and the "Renommee" at the top of the dome. Their lead was used to make bayonets. Two centuries later, in 1989, Yves Bienaime organised a patronage operation, replaced the "Renommee" with a copy, and donated it to the Institut de France.
At the end of the 19th century, in 1886, the last owner of the grand stables, the Duke of Aumale, fifth son of King Louis-Philippe, donated his domain (the chateau, the hippodrome, the stables, the forest, the Conde Museum.) to the Institut de France, providing its state would be preserved.
The living horse museum is harbored in the world's most beautiful stables. The Grand Stables of the Princes de Condee, architectural master piece of the XVIIIth century, situated on a unique site, facing the Chateau on one side and the hippodrome on the other.
Created in 1982 by Yves Bienaimee, with no subsidies, it is a private museum which has become not only the biggest and the beautiful museum of its kind in the world but also an internationally renowned institution. It offers 800 m of a covered circuit and attracts each year, 150.000 visitors. This museum is a must for all horse people and persons who love art and culture.
The original recipe was created by Francois Vatel in the 17th century. The basic Chantilly is made of whipped cream and sugar although there are slight variations in some countries. The most important thing to get the correct result is the ratio between the two ingredients. The ideal portions are 60 grams of sugar for every 200 millilitres of whipping cream. After whipping, add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean to taste.
Spend the day in the heart of Royal Picardie and visit the world's most beautiful stables in Chantilly, as well as the Musee Vivant Du Cheval (The Living Horse Museum), the Chantilly Chateau and the famous Conde Museum.
Not only does Chantilly boast furniture that was once commissioned by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, but also almost 1,000 Old Master paintings including important collections of paintings and drawings from the Ecole Francaise (Poussin, Nattier, Watteau, Ingres, Delacroix), as well as masterpieces from the Italian painters (Fra Angelico, Raphael, Carrache) and numerous masterpieces from the Northern Schools. Chantilly's more than 3,000 Old Master drawings allow for continual temporary exhibits which are on handsome display in the former Hunt Dining Room.
Spend the afternoon in the magnificent Chantilly Castle, Gardens and Living Horse Museum with its unique museum and stables which are used to this day to house the horses present shows daily.
Private Escorted Tour
Departs : 8.30am ot 1:30pm Daily
Duration : 5hrs
Cost: On Request
Hotel or Apartment Pick Up
Transport by Air-Conditioned Minibus
Half Day Option
Your day to discover Chantilly will begin by a guided visit of the Castle of Chantilly
Located in the Castle, the Conde Museum presents, respecting the original hanging of the 19th century, the second most important collection of paintings and drawings of France.
In the end of the morning, lunch optionally at in Vatel's old kitchens located in the cellars of the chateau de Chantilly or a Chateau close by.
The afternoon begins with a discovery of gardens followed by a guided visit of the Great Stables of Chantilly.
To conclude the day you will assist to the equestrian show of the” Musée Vivant du Cheva" Horses take part of an « educational » demonstration where rider, dressed in the museum's costume, has his horse perform « airs » for visitors.
Only 35 miles north of Paris past St Denis where many of the kings and queens of France are buried combine your day at the Chateaux Chantilly with a visit to Senlis, a lovely medieval village or one of the grand Abbeys in the area like Royaumont.
Private Escorted Tour
Departs : 9am Daily
Duration : 8hrs
Cost: On Request
Hotel or Apartment Pick Up
Transport by Air-Conditioned Minibus
Option 1 - Medieval Senlis
En route to Chantilly, you can visit Senlis is an exquisite little town, with narrow cobbled streets, ancient buildings and beautiful churches
The old town is a preserved area, where efforts have been made to preserve and restore the built heritage, some buildings dating back to the XIIth century. A number of films and costume dramas have been shot here.
The cathedral is one the earliest example of early Gothic style, and there are churches and other religious buildings at every corner, as the Bishopric of Senlis was extremely influential until the French Revolution. For a long time Senlis was also a Royal Residence: King Hugues Capet (founder of the powerful Capetian dynasty in 987) was crowned there, and Louis VI re-built the Castle in the XIIth century
There is a lively street market every Tuesday and Friday morning.
Option 2 - Great Abbeys
If you love old churches then you can include one of these with your visit to Chantilly.
The Royal Abbey of Chaalis
The Royal Abbey of Chaalis is situated in the heart of the forest of Ermenonville, in a 75-acre park designed by the creator of the famous gardens of Tivoli in Italy. Founded between 1202 and 1204, it houses the Jacquemard André Museum, the orangery and a magnificent rose garden.
The Abbey of Royaumont
Founded in 1228 by Saint Louis, Royaumont is the largest abbey in the Paris region and features concerts every week-end from June to September and temporary exhibitions in summer.
The Abbey of Moncel
The abbey was founded in 1309 by Philippe le Bel and a significant part of its original buildings have remained intact.
The Renaissance Museum in Ecouen
The Museum was opened in 1977 in the superbly preserved environment of the Chateau of Ecouen, a gem of French Renaissance architecture built in the 16th century for the Constable Anne de Montmorency.article
After you visit the world's most beautiful stables in Chantilly, and he Living Horse Museum why not consider lunch or dinner at the races in Chantilly or close to the Chateau de Vincennes which ha sone of the highest towers in Europe.
The Chantilly Racecourse, the largest racehorse training center in Europe, is nestled amongst lush forests and surrounded by magnificent chateaus. Each year 24 races, including the famous Prix du Jockey Club, Prix de Diane Hermes and the Daddy Trophy take place in this majestic environment. Don’t miss those early morning sessions where you may have the chance to watch some of the 2,500 thoroughbred horses being trained to catch the secrets of champions!
Afterwards, take a moment to visit the impressive Chantilly Training Centre which occupies 1,900 hectares and consists of turf, sand, dirt and jump race tracks.
You will be driven to Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris, past the magnificent chateaux to the Vincennes Hippodrome race course for lunch or dinner where you can enjoy a great view of the races and be welcomed to a fascinating universe!
The Paris-Vincennes racecourse is a fabulous place. Just imagine...in the heart of Paris, nuzzled in a peaceful green 38-hectare haven, a magnificent 1,975 m running track. It is my favourite...and that of all champions... its seasoned sweeping bends, selective inclines and beautiful straights meaning we can offer you truly spectacular races.
Stay as long as you like. You can take a 15 minutes taxi ride back to central Paris or the RER train. With capacity for 35,000 spectators, Paris-Vincennes racecourse is the venue for more than 153 race meetings, totaling nearly 1255 races (8 or 9 races at lunch time and 7 at dinner time).