Sights in Chantilly, France
Chateau de Chantilly
1560 to 1885
The Chateau of Chantilly is only 20 miles north of Paris, but seems a world away. Often overlooked by tourists, it is truly a grand chateau with marvelous art collections, grounds and stables fit for a king. You can easily tour it on foot or take a hot air balloon ride tethered above the chateau to view the grounds and surrounding forested countryside. You may even be able to see as far as Paris itself.
Rising from the confluence of the Seine and Oise rivers, the Chateau de Chantilly is one of France's largest estates. Built in 1560 by the architect Jean Bullant, for Anne de Montmorency, it came into the hands of the Conde family at the end of the 18th century. During the French Revolution, all of its works of art were transferred to the Louvre and it was used as a prison. Its last royal owner, the Duc d'Aumale donated the estate to the Institut de France in 1886.
The Musee Conde in the castle is second only to the Louvre in its wealth of Old Master paintings. Its vast collection of manuscripts include the fifteenth-century Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Unlike other estates, Chantilly was never divided, retaining its farms, ponds, forest, and magnificent horse stables decorated with statuary (the builder thought that he would return as a horse in his next life!). In artistic value and completeness of its holdings it is virtually without equal in central Europe.
If you are interested in visiting the Chateau of Chantilly it lies 20 miles north of Paris, and because it is so near the airport, the chateau makes an an excellent last day stop in France. We can recommend some charming hotels nearby that will add a touch of romance to the end of your trip!
World Monuments Fund
The World Monuments Fund www.worldmonuments.org (WMF) has listed the chateau in its 100 of the worlds most endangered sites. A private, self-contained estate, Chantilly lacks the substantial government support afforded to other historic properties in France and has slowly declined. The hydraulic system, designed to irrigate the huge garden and provide water for the entire city, has failed, resulting in a rising water table that threatens every building in the estate. The chateau's oldest wing, containing the Gallerie des Actions de Monsieur le Prince, was seriously damaged in a storm in 1997. Private, nongovernmental partners and the regional government see a potential for Chantilly to become sustainable through an upgrading of its facilities and major capital investment.
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