Chantilly was our choice over Versailles. Yes, Versailles is outstanding. Marvelous. Fabulous. But it is also packed with tourists. First a trek from the train with the hordes, then stand in line for tickets, then stand in line for entrance, then move through the rooms with the press of humanity around you. That’s Versailles.
Chateau Chantilly was a new experience.
When I told my Conversation Exchange atty friend Albert about it, he said I knew more French history than any other American he knew. AND I knew more about Chantilly than he did. And in fact, he’s actually an owner.
The Duc d’Aumal, son of Louis-Phillip (a king that my friend did know!) willed the estate, his books (extensive) and paintings (second to the Louvre) to the French people through the Institute Francais.
The chateau itself is superb, the grounds outstanding.
And they have horses! The Duc loved his horses – the stables, built after the Chateau – are larger than it.
That photo is from the Chateau over the moat towards the stables. That huge building is the stable complex.
There is a “demonstration” of their dressage horses several times a day. Don’t get too excited, though, if you go. The daily demonstration is not a dressage show – and nothing like the performances at the Olympics. (Love the internet that allows you to watch some of these more esoteric sport events). Real shows are held there, but not on our timetable.
We arrived at the Chateau by taxi and found the bus (free!) for the return. If there was better signage (!) we could have taken the bus there too.