Out And About In Chantilly

Chateau de Chantilly view from entrance. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We had almost perfect weather for our first full day in France. We spent most of the day walking and sightseeing around the Château de Chantilly, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

We’ll be driving south to our next stop today, but I wanted to take advantage of good internet speed at our hotel to share some images with you.

Exploring The Great Stables and Château de Chantilly

Entrance to Great Stables and Horse Museum at Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Our hotel had provided us a day pass to the Château, gardens and Horse Museum. As we were heading out the door, the guy at the front desk told us to be sure and catch the Dressage demonstration at the Great Stables at 11am, so we went there first.

Inside the Great Stables and Horse Museum in Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

These stables were built in the 18th Century, and are the largest in Europe. Having spent a considerable amount of time in stables early in my life, I had to appreciate how well laid-out these were. (And how familiar they smelled…that mix of hay, manure, horses and leather.) I hadn’t slept well and was still a little bit bleary, and we were soon surrounded by dozens of kids on school outings, so I didn’t take a lot of photos here.

Illustration from Horse Museum at Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you love horses, the Museum is worth a visit. The exhibits cover the evolution of the horse, our relationship with horses from pre-history on, early saddles and tack (did you know it was the Chinese who developed the first saddles?) horse breeding, horse racing and much more.

Miniature display of Courses (racetrack) at Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I tried to take some videos of the dressage demo. I’ll either try to edit and share those later, or will post on Instagram.

From the gardens at Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I needed some movement and fresh air, so we decided to explore some of the gardens first. What a delight! Aside from the traditional French garden behind the Château, most of the gardens are of a more naturalistic style. There was hardly anyone else there, so it felt like we almost had the place to ourselves. We spent a couple of hours just strolling through the gardens and petite forêt and it was exactly what I needed. Very restorative and refreshing!

"Duchesse" path in woods at Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This is for my friend Duchesse at Passage des Perles. 😉

We popped out to a nearby cafe for a quick lunch, and then went back to tour the Château itself and more of the gardens. The ticket we had allowed for all-day entrance to both the Great Stables and Château and grounds.

Interior of Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Though parts of the Château date back to the Middle Ages, most of what you see today was completed in the 19th Century by the Duke of Aumale. He was also a passionate art collector, and the massive collection of artwork is still displayed as it was during his lifetime. It’s an amazing collection!! I recommend using the free audio guide available at the front desk of the museum.

I really enjoyed the Chinoiserie-style artwork in this room, called the Monkey Room. It was so named because it features images of monkeys engaged in human activities like playing instruments and hunting. This was a popular theme with French aristocracy in the 18th century. This room was restored a few years ago.

Fountains in the English Garden at Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

After touring the inside, we had more gardens to explore!

Sheep at Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Remember those sheep I mentioned yesterday? Here they are having a rest after a full day of “mowing lawns.” The baby lambs were adorable!

Susan B outside Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Exterior of Chateau de Chantilly. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

By late afternoon, dark clouds were moving in. A few minutes after we arrived back at the hotel, the thunder started rumbling and it was soon pouring. We congratulated ourselves on our timing.

After a fantastic dinner at Le Bouchon Gourmand, I conked out and slept like a baby.

Travel Wardrobe “Wild Cards”

Linen pieces for warm weather travel. Details on these and more travel wardrobe tips at une femme d'un certain age.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a couple of swaps I made on our way out the door. Here are the two “wild cards” I selected, based on a weather forecast that was looking warmer overall by the day. Above, I decided to add another linen blend shirt. This one has a fun gold pineapple print. The pants are a new addition to my wardrobe. They’re linen and…not black! They’re cropped and a bit wider than my other pairs, but still work with most of the tops. (Plus here.)

I need to wrap this up so we can pack up and hit the road. More soon!!

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17 Comments

  1. Susan D.
    May 25, 2018 / 3:10 am

    What gorgeous photos!

  2. Adele Miller
    May 25, 2018 / 3:56 am

    We almost stayed in Chantilly on our last trip, but it would have been just as a last-night stopover before flying home, and I had a suspicion we wouldn’t have had enough time to appreciate it……….your lovely posts have confirmed my suspicions. Will put it on the wish-list for our next trip to France!

    Safe and happy travels.

  3. Ellen
    May 25, 2018 / 4:53 am

    our last vacation was included a tour of private gardens and estates in Provence. I feel like I have seen all of the palaces that I need to in my lifetime, but the estates and gardens of France were really special. Enjoy!

  4. May 25, 2018 / 6:09 am

    I’ve never been there, although it isn’t far from Paris. I’m not fond of jardins à la française (very formal, geometrical gardens) and am thrilled that most of it is – artfully contrived – naturalistic gardens. And those cropped trousers are a very pretty colour. Love the sheep!

  5. Nancy Martin
    May 25, 2018 / 6:48 am

    I’m enjoying every word of your blog. This is the first summer in 10 that I’m not going to France because of a new job (oh woe is me) but your travelogue is providing my vicarious journey. Plus I’ve never been to Chantilly and it looks great. Can’t wait to see where you go next!

  6. Debra
    May 25, 2018 / 7:10 am

    Those gardens! Thank you for the photos. And I love the rust colored pants – I’m thinking of bringing a pair of red pants to Europe as my “wild card”. Still waiting to see if the weather stabilizes, but it looks now as if I’ll have what you had in Chantilly, clear mornings and thundery afternoons. So grateful for your posts as they will give me a good idea what to bring. T-minus 5 days and counting!

  7. risa Wolfson
    May 25, 2018 / 7:24 am

    So beautiful! Thank you for the tour! The art work is truly impressive! So much detail! Everything is so green and lush!

  8. Lyn
    May 25, 2018 / 8:15 am

    Red seems to be a popular alternative to jeans and black pants in France.
    Chantilly looks like the perfect first stop. I want to see that Monkey Room!

  9. Meg
    May 25, 2018 / 9:08 am

    How do you keep your linen pressed when traveling? I noticed no ironing boards or irons in hotels in Paris, Rome and London , perhaps to keep the hotels’ own laundry valet busy?
    The gardens are stunning, I love looking at the photos. Thanks so much!

    • Susan B
      Author
      May 25, 2018 / 9:24 am

      Hi Meg, I don’t really worry too much about it. I was considering packing a travel steamer, but ultimately decided against it. I don’t mind my linen a little rumpled, but I also can either a) hang it in the bathroom when I shower or b) use the Downy wrinkle-reducing spray to soften it a bit. Glad you enjoy the photos!

  10. May 25, 2018 / 11:06 am

    Good, good show! Lovely gardens, castle, everything. And I think your last-minute changes were well chosen.

    Am loving your “postcards”! 🙂

  11. Bobbi
    May 25, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Enjoy your travel tips and wardrobe in action. I haven’t been to Chantilly what a treat! Where are you staying?

    Thanks!

  12. ISABELLE PATTHEY
    May 25, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    Beautiful photos. I decided to just visit the gardens & stables @ Chantilly when I visited the place a few years ago.

  13. May 26, 2018 / 4:58 am

    I always enjoy your travel posts. France is my favorite destination. Loved Chantilly (Never been) and especially the room with monkeys at play. As a former interior designer I learned the French decor name for this style – Singerie. Looking forward to the rest of your trip Susan.

  14. Dale
    May 26, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    The pictures are beautiful! Enjoying these posts.

    The long-sleeve Eileen Fisher tees–do you get them in regular or petite length? I am the same height as you. Thanks in advance.

    • Susan B
      Author
      May 26, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      Hi Dale, thanks so much! I usually buy the Petite size.

  15. Kamila
    May 28, 2018 / 4:07 am

    Interesujący wpis, pozdrawiam serdecznie 😉

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