Our trip to Chantilly came out of a necessity to return to Charles De Gaulle Airport but not wishing to return to the hustle and bustle of Paris. The necessity was actual tremendous luck as we greatly enjoyed the Chateau and town. The visit resulted in a gorgeous tour of the chateau with priceless painting and a laid back town with delicious food.
The path to our hotel (Dolce Chantilly-more below) was an adventure through the Chantilly forest. After a bit of trees, the Chantilly Chateau suddenly appears as if a majestic escape. For some reason, the outside architecture continuously reminded me of the Biltmore in North Carolina. The inside contains the Musée Condé and is as beautiful as expected especially. The walls are covered in somehow complimentary hunting memorabilia and one of the largest antique art collections in France. It is only considered second to the Louvre.
The walk through Chateau de Chantilly offers a free audio guide. My two favorite rooms on the tour were the music room and the hall of Psyche. The music room holds a magnificent harp while the hall of Psyche tells the story of Psyche and Cupid through over 40 stain glass windows. My sister could not get enough of the grand library. The tour offered something for everyone.
Quick Tip: Be aware of school groups. We went at 10 am on a Tuesday and there was 4-5 buses of kids on tours. The students left about 3 pm, though, and appeared to have made it through the Chateau even earlier. It may be ridiculous to plan your time around children but it is something you may wish to be aware of. For the most part, my family just looked at what rooms they were entering and went the opposite way.
One part of Chantilly my family would not have minded skipping was the Great Stables and Museum of the Horse. The Great Stables are likely… great for horse lovers but, for folks such as myself who do not take much pleasure, it was not too interesting. The best parts for my mom and I were the displays of old carousel horses (and giraffes and bunnies and such).
If looking for somewhere near Paris but not Paris, Chantilly is 100% my recommendation. The town is more laid back and friendly with a variety of great restaurants and multiple hotels. My only complaint for the area was the lack of shopping. Though if you wish to shop, Paris is less than 45 minutes away. Also, I should not say anything for the only shopping I required was for cough medicine and there appeared to be a pharmacy on every corner.
Where to stay
We stayed in Dolce Chantilly. We received very reasonable rates thanks to their current summer escape promotion. The four in my family was able to stay comfortable in two rooms right next to each other. The front desk was a bit frustrating at times with things such as not working keys. I have nothing to rave about but I have nothing to rant (too much) about either. Overall, the hotel was what we wanted-a comfortable, convenient place to stay.
Where to eat
Though there’s a restaurant on the grounds, it was fancier and more costly than we wished. Thanks to renting a car, we were able to easily hop into town for food before returning for the horse museum.
L’Essential: Has a fancy feel but maintains reasonable prices. Of my family’s four meals, every single one was better than the prior. From the chicken to the pork to the steak, all were cooked to perfection. If you reserve online, you receive 20% off your meal but cannot order from the fixed price menu. Located right by the train station.
Pizza Napoli: If looking for a simpler meal, this is a family-run pizzeria. The food was good and the prices were fair. The manager/owner(?) was incredibly attentive and friendly. He helped our waiter the entire time with our struggle to communicate. His own family was sitting eating while we were there.
Summer: 10am-6pm (Park till 8pm)
Winter (Nov-March): 10:30am-5pm. (Park till 6pm)
Closed on Tuesdays except in July & August
Private tours offered on the hour most hours
There’s a few different types of tickets for access to different locations. Prices are for the Chateau and park.
Child (4-17 years): €8
~2 hours for the Chateau, as long as you want in the gardens
There’s a few stairs but is an easy venture for the most part. You can rent a golf cart for €32/hour to tour the gardens.
I hope your day has been great!
Lesson of the day:
Word of the day:
À bientôt = See you soon
Chantilly was my last French location of the trip. Though do not fret, I have more posts about France.
All photos are my own. They can be found plus more on my Flickr. Please, request permission before reusing.