You could spend a lifetime in Paris and never see everything the City of Light has to offer! But getting outside of the city will open your eyes to some of France’s most beautiful cultural and historical heritage. If you’re visiting Paris and need a break from the fast and hectic pace of the city, take a trip out to Château de Chantilly for some fresh air, breathtaking gardens, and of course, a castle!
About Château de Chantilly
Château de Chantilly is an important monument of French history. The château has been around since the middle ages, although it’s been destroyed an rebuilt a number of times. The current version is from the 1800s and has survived both world wars. While never lived in by kings or queens, this stately château last belonged to Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale and the son of the last King of France, Louis-Phillipe. The prince was a compulsive collector of art and books.
The Art Galleries of the Musée de Condé at Château de Chantilly are the second largest collection of antique paintings in France after the Louvre. Art in the Musée de Condé even include masterpieces from great artists such as Raphael and Ingres. Interestingly, the works of art are still displayed in the exact layout that Henri chose for them. The library is massive and hosts an impressive 60,000 books. The Duke of Aumale donated the château and his extensive collections to the Institut de France in 1886.
The French Gardens surrounding Château de Chantilly were designed by famed landscape designer, André Le Nôtre. Nôtre also designed the Versailles Gardens, but it’s said that the French Garden at Château de Chantilly was his favorite creation. The Grand Canal at Château de Chantilly is 600 meters longer than the one he incorporated into his design at Versailles.
While the Château and gardens are magnificent, the Great Stables are really the pièce de résistance of the Chantilly complex. The Great Stables of the Princes de Condé were built for the 7th prince of Condé, Louis-Henri de Bourbon in the 18th century.
The prince loved horses and was convinced he would become a horse in a second life. In Louis-Henri’s time the stable housed more than 200 horses. The stables are still the largest in Europe but only house between 30-40 horses today. You can see them in action during the daily shows in the Dome.
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Things to know before you go to the Chantilly Castle
Most visitors to Paris take day trip to the more famous Château de Versailles. Glittering in gold, Versailles is sure to impress. Meanwhile, Château de Chantilly is less opulent, but no less impressive. It’s is one of the best day trips from Paris and although it’s the lesser château destination, it’s easy to get to, has far less crowds, and is packed with beautiful and interesting architecture, gardens, food, history, and art.
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How to Get to Château de Chantilly from Paris
Getting to Château de Chantilly from Paris is straightforward and pretty easy. Start your journey at Paris’ largest train station, Gare du Nord. Trains leave from Paris to Chantilly hourly and depart from the Grandes Lignes zone- platforms 9-18. Tickets can be purchased from the Regional Ticket distribution machines at Gare du Nord. The journey to Chantilly takes about 24 minutes.
If traveling by train, you can take advantage of a unique package deal. At the automated machines, you can buy a TER Chantilly ticket which includes your roundtrip train fare as well as a Domain ticket for 25 euro. This option can save you time when you arrive at the Château ticket office and there is a long line.
You can get from the Chantilly train station to the Château one of three ways:
By bus- a free bus provided by the municipality of Chantilly can take you to the Château in just a few minutes. Take DUC bus number 15 in the “Senlis” direction and get off at “Chantilly, église Notre-Dame”
On foot- it takes about 20 minutes to walk from the train station to the Château
Return trains to Paris run less frequently, so be sure to check the train schedule unless you plan on spending a night in Chantilly.
You can reach the Château de Chantilly by car from Charles de Gaulle in about 20 minutes. It’s 40km from the city center and travel time is heavily dependent on traffic.
Take the A3 or A1 motorway and take the “Chantilly” exit towards D316 and D317
Once you arrive, follow the signs to the P2 car park.
Parking is 5 euro for cars.
By a guided tour
Another option for seeing the Château de Chantilly from Paris is to join a tour like this one to see the still standing glory of the Princes de Condé.
From 30 March to 27 October 2019
7 days a week, including Sundays and holidays, from 10:00 to 18:00 (gardens close at 20:00)
From 30 October 2018 to 29 March 2019
Every day except Tuesday from 10:30 to 17:00 (gardens close at 18:00)
Gardens Only- 8 euro
Domain (Gardens, Château, and the Great Stables) 17 euro
Equestrian Show (includes access to the Great Stables) 21 euro
Domain + Equestrian Show (Gardens, Château, the Great Stables, and the show) 30 euro
It is possible to enter the Domaine de Chantilly with a Paris Museum Pass (access to the park, the chateau and the Great Stables).
While tickets can be purchased on-site, it’s recommended to book tickets online in advance. You won’t have to wait in long ticket lines and you also get a 10% discount for booking online.
Guided tours of the Château’s Private Suites are available for an additional 5 euro. Tours are only available in French.
Audio guides are free of charge and are available in French, English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.
There are 3 restaurants on the grounds of Château de Chantilly:
La Capitainerie, located in the château
le Café des Ecuries and the Hameau in the Anglo-Chinese garden.
Picnic tables are also available in the English garden if you choose to bring a packed lunch.
Make sure to try a Crème Chantilly while you’re there!
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