A short 45 minute drive from Paris, lies the charming French town of Chantilly. Now if it wasn’t for my father-in-laws birthday celebrations two weeks ago, I’m not entirely convinced I would have had the pleasure of experiencing this jewel for myself. Now that I have, here’s the low down on why you absolutely need to visit this beautiful town the next time you’re in the vicinity.
“Its all in the name” goes the saying and in this instance, the town’s most famous export is quite literally a giveaway. Chantilly cream isn’t as easy to get your hands on as you might expect, (yes ok I may have been looking in the wrong places) but once you do, you’ll be rewarded handsomely for it.
If there is one thing Chantilly is famous for aside from cream, it’s horse racing. Boasting one of the most prestigious racetracks in Europe, Chantilly is an equestrian lovers dream.
With a backdrop of the Chateau, horse racing here really does makes for compelling viewing. The entrance fee of 5 Euros is an absolute bargain especially when you can quite literally entertain yourself here for an entire afternoon.
Château de Chantilly
The town’s most striking landmark is the Château de Chantilly, originally constructed in 1560 for Anne Montmorency. The Chateau was destroyed in the French Revolution but was subsequently rebuilt in the 1870s by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale the son of the last King of France.
The Prince was quite a collector and made Chantilly the showcase for his countless masterpieces and precious manuscripts. The Chateau’s art gallery known as Musée Condé, houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France and is also home to the second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre. A must for art enthusiasts.
What’s a girl to do if she’s looking for a touch of French glamour? Head to the Polo of course! Chantilly Polo Club is the largest Polo school in France and one of the largest Polo Clubs in Europe.
The club is a short 10 minute drive from the town centre and the grounds, which are situated in one of the royal forests, are impressive to say the least. If you time your visit right, you may even witness a championship match.
Sipping Champagne whilst watching horses trot in the most elegant manner is what I call #SaturdayGoals!
You may have gathered that I’ve made reference to a number of equestrian related activities in this post which leads me to my next recommendation, the Musee du Cheval. The literal translation for this term is the Horse Museum or what locals refer to as The Stables.
From the outside, the museum looks incredibly grand, inside however is a more horsey affair 😂 – bad joke I apologise! Aside from the horses, there are 15 rooms within the stables showcasing works of art including paintings, prints, sculptures, manuscripts and equestrian equipment. The collections which come from all over the world, really are rather fascinating so if you’re big on horses then include this on your to-visit list.
Chantilly is small as far as towns go but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and beauty. I was absolutely blown away by the landscape and by how much there actually is to see and do. It’s the perfect weekend getaway, particularly if you’re not too bothered about Paris, because lets face it everyone has done Paris!
Have you visited Chantilly before?