The Château de Chantilly is located north of Paris - about half an hour by train. The oldest parts of the castle date from the 16th century, but having suffered seriously from the Revolution, the major parts were rebuilt during the 19th century. Its history is linked to the Montmorency family, later to the Princes of Condé… and during the latter part of the 19th century to one of the sons of King Louis-Philippe, the Duke of Aumale. The castle was bequeathed to the French State ((Institut de France) at his death in 1897.
Molière sits in front of the castle on the top picture. This is because his play “Les Précieuses Ridicules” was performed here for the first time in 1659. The man on the horse is Anne, Duke of Montmorency.
Another name linked to the castle is François Vatel. He was “maître d’hôtel” to the Condé family but had also worked for Nicolas Fouquet and others. He committed suicide because of a delayed delivery of some fish for a royal meal at the castle. The famous Chantilly cream seems however not to be linked to him – created earlier.
The art gallery, referred to as the “Musée Condé”, houses one of the finest collections of paitings in France – Botticelli, Raphael, Mignard, Watteau, Corot, Fra Angelico, Lippi, Veronese, Carracci, Poussin, Holbein, Champaigne, Van Dyck, Greuze, Delacroix, Ingres, Gericault… .
The library contains some 1.500 manuscripts, some 17.500 printed volumes, medieval manuscripts…
Other parts of the castle, the Chapel...
The Garden was laid out by André Le Nôtre (Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, Tuileries…).
The castle is close to the Chantilly Racecourse and the Great Stables (to be visited another time).
The days in November are short… the darkness arrived.