Chantilly Travel Guide

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From the 10th to the 14th century, Chantilly belonged to the Lords of Senlis that built the first castle which there are no remains today. Between 1386 and 1394, Pierre dÍOrgemont built a medieval fortress. The only remains today are the tower foundations in the moat.

In 1484, Pierre dÍOrgemont bequeathed Chantilly to his grand nephew Guillaume de Montmorency who then bequeathed it to his son the Count Anne de Montmorency, a great man of the Renaissance period.

Respected warrior and art collector, he renovated the medieval castle then constructed a second castle in 1560 on the little island south of the fortress now known as the capitainerie or little castle. This rectangular building has hardly changed since. The Count improved the terrace where we see today the equestrian statue by Paul Dubois (1886).

The Count’s grandson, Henri II de Montmorency built the park and Sylvie’s House. Chantilly was confiscated by Louis XII who often came here to hunt.

After a few political problems related to the Fronde, Chantilly became the Grand Conde’s property who transformed it and in particular had Le Notre design the park which canalized the Nonette River to create the Grand Canal.

Le Notre changed the entrance to the castle and created the present perspective and Mansart built the two building at the entrance gate. The Grand Conde made Chantilly a festive place and one of literary importance. The Grand Conde’s son finished transforming the castle with the grand architect of that era, Jules Hardouin Mansart.

The Grand Conde’s great grandson, the Duke of Bourbon, built the Old Stables, magnificently decorated the apartments of the little castle and created Chantilly’s porcelain factories. His son, Louis Jospeh, prince of Conde, finished the improvements, constructed the Enghien castle, the long building to the right of the entrance gate, as well as the hamlet that inspired the construction of Queen Marie Antoinette’s hamlet at Versailles.

Being against revolutionary ideas, he emigrated and formed the emigrant’s army. Chantilly suffered a lot during the revolution. The artwork was stolen and from 1799 onward the buildings were torn down until the large castle was totally flattened. After 1815, the prince Louis Jospeh tried to put everything back together and bequeathed his belongings in 1830 to his grand nephew Henri d’Orleans, the Duke of Aumale, the son of the future king Louis-Philippe.

The Duke of Aumale ordered the construction of the wooden gallery by the architect Duban but had to leave France after the 1848 revolution and did not come back until 1870. Upon returning, he ordered that Honore Daumet reconstruct the large castle. Daumet reconstructed the castle on the medieval foundations, imitating Renaissance architecture and integrating the works of art that are responsible for Chantilly’s fame and reputation. In 1884, Henri d’Orleans, the Duke of Aumale left the Domain of Chantilly to the Institut de France.

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