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Chantilly, the cream of the castles

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Chantilly, the cream of the castles

Nathalie Baetens

With an evocative name of delicate lace and decorated porcelain, associated with the world of horses, Chantilly, a princely city twenty minutes from the Gare du Nord, is rich in history. We can not tell them all. The best is to spend a day or a weekend to discover and enjoy the serenity ...

A pretext for a getaway, the Domaine de Chantilly takes us to the countryside. Just arrived at the edge of the castle, one guesses that it crossed centuries and one learns that it also suffered the reverses of fortune of its various owners.

From the Grand Castle of the Princes of Conde, razed to the Small Revolution, in which Henry of Orleans, Duke of Aumale, had his apartments arranged. These last, more intimate, are moving. It seems to detect some anachronisms - modern bathrooms, photographs hung from paintings - but our guide reminds us that the duke lived in the nineteenth century. Yesterday finally!

A museum with a high personality at Château de Chantilly

In the tradition of patronage of the line of Orleans, the duke brings together an incredible collection of books and manuscripts, paintings and sculptures. To admire them, you have to come to the castle, because they never leave the enclosure.

On the walls, one is astonished by the proximity of so many masterpieces, sweeping styles and eras, from Raphael to Ingres, from Carache to Poussin. Nicole Garnier, chief curator of the Heritage, watches over the Condé museum, "second collection of old paintings after the Louvre" and works with its teams to respect the museography wanted by the duke.

The Tribune, whose name and form refer to the Uffizi of Florence.

Nathalie Baetens

Faceted walk at the Domaine de Chantilly

Back in the open air, in the park of the Domain. If it's not Versailles, there are some similarities! Surrounded by a vast forest, one crosses the large flowerbeds created by Le Nôtre, one frolics in the Anglo-Chinese garden, with a forced break at the restaurant of the Hamlet for strawberries chantilly and one continues the romantic walk in the English garden. Here again, the magic of the diversity of styles acts. In terms of diversity, Yves Bienaimé, a key figure in Chantilly, knows it!

Squire, he saved the Great Stables, then, for ten years, he welcomes in his Potager des Princes, a project "dedicated to families and children". A touching and poetic place, with many facets - pleasure garden, animal park, animated workshops ... - out of his imagination, it overflowing.

Perspective opened on the gardens of André Le Nôtre, misaligned compared to the castle, designed for the Grand Condé, Louis II of Bourbon, in the 17th century. Parterres and water games are not unlike those of Versailles, but Le Nôtre placed the realization of Chantilly at the top of his art. On the right, at the bottom, we see a turn of the racecourse.

Nathalie Baetens

Chantilly: where the horse is king

In this princely city, the horse is king! What strikes when arriving is its omnipresence. First, with the Grandes Ecuries, a real 18th century palace, designed to collect carriages, horses, pack dogs and staff.

"Among them, there were many lads, for which was also built the Anglican Church and which initiated an English Cantilian community, still present today," explains the lady of the tea room The English Shop. The life of the Grandes Ecuries is punctuated by the Living Museum of the Horse created by Yves Bienaimé. His daughter Sophie is artistic director of equestrian shows.

In the morning, we can have the chance to see in the courtyard, the riders and their horses exercise. Or attend the training of racehorses, on the track of the racecourse. Or, come see a polo match. The elitist reputation of this sport is not right here! Pascal Renauldon, rider and player, has made us change his mind: "With the arrival of the Argentines for the season, the atmosphere is festive.In games, the lawns are filled with groups of friends, come to the show, accompanied by a picnic ". Simple and friendly, polo!

Races have been held on the racetrack since 1830. Here, the Jockey Club Prize.

Nathalie Baetens

Meeting in small numbers at the Polo Club.

Nathalie Baetens

Chantilly, a city of good taste

Is it because the cook Vatel officiated for the Grand Condé that the Cantilians are not insensitive to gluttony? We realize that here, we like to spend happy moments at the table around bistro dishes and pretty bottles. Or in the cozy setting, the gourmet restaurant of the Auberge du Jeu de Paume. The flavors of Chantilly are multiple and generous. And if we also took the time to taste it by visiting the Domaine, the time of a summer day?

One of the houses of the Hamlet. Behind the apparent rusticity, the interior comfort allowed beautiful social feasts.

Nathalie Baetens

One of the rooms of the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, overlooking the English garden of the Domaine.

Nathalie Baetens

Dome in the Paintings Gallery.

Nathalie Baetens

The bedroom of the Duchess of Aumale.

Nathalie Baetens

The Violet lounge, in private apartments, decorated Louis Philippe.

Nathalie Baetens

The stone vaults of the Grandes Ecuries.

Nathalie Baetens

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