Château de Chantilly

Château de Chantilly
Château Chantilly 1.jpg
View of the northwest façade
General information
Architectural styleFrench Renaissance
Town or cityChantilly
Construction started1358
OwnerInstitut de France
Design and construction
ArchitectJean Bullant, Honoré Daumet

The Château de Chantilly (pronounced [ʃɑto d(ə) ʃɑ̃tiji]) is a historic French château located in the town of Chantilly, Oise, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Paris. The site comprises two attached buildings: the Petit Château built around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency and the Grand Château, which was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 1870s. It is owned by the Institut de France, to which it was bequeathed in the will of Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale.

A historic monument since 1988, it is open to the public. The château's art gallery, the Musée Condé, houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France. It specialises in French paintings and book illuminations of the 15th and 16th centuries.


Original construction

The Château de Chantilly at the time of the Grand Condé

The estate's connection with the Montmorency family began in 1484. The first mansion (no longer in existence, now replaced by the Grand Château) was built, between 1528 and 1531, for Anne de Montmorency by Pierre Chambiges. The Petit Château was also built for him, around 1560, probably by Jean Bullant. In 1632, after the death of Henri II de Montmorency, it passed to his nephew, the Grand Condé, who inherited it through his mother, Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency.

Molière's play, Les Précieuses ridicules, received its first performance here in 1659. Madame de Sévigné relates in her memoirs that when King Louis XIV of France visited there in 1671, François Vatel, the maître d'hôtel to the Grand Condé, committed suicide when he feared the fish would be served late. The collection includes important works of the cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle.

Revolution and aftermath

The chapel of the Hearts of the Princes of Condé
The Château's library

The original mansion was destroyed in the French Revolution. It was repaired in a modest way by Louis Henri II, Prince of Condé, but the entire property was confiscated from the Orléans family, between 1853 and 1872, during which interval it was owned by Coutts, an English bank. Chantilly was entirely rebuilt, between 1875 and 1882, by Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (1822–1897) to the designs of Honore Daumet. The new château met with mixed reviews. Boni de Castellane summed up one line of thought: "What is today styled a marvel is one of the saddest specimens of the architecture of our era — one enters on the second floor and descends to the salons". In the end, the Duc d'Aumale bequeathed the property to the Institut de France upon his death in 1897.

21st century restoration

The World Monuments Fund included the site in the 1998 World Monuments Watch to call attention to water infiltration and high humidity in the Galerie des Actions de Monsieur le Prince and again in the 2002 World Monuments Watch due to the precarious condition of the entire estate.[1] Funding for restoration work was provided from various sources, including American Express and the Generali Group.[2]

Subsequently, in response to an appeal for the restoration of the château, The Aga Khan donated €40 million, accounting for more than half of a €70 million needed by the Institut de France to complete the project.[3] In 2008 the World Monuments Fund completed the restoration of the Grande Singerie, a salon with paintings on the walls of monkeys engaged in human activities, once a fashionable salon motif, but with few examples surviving today.[4]

Musée Condé

The art gallery of Chantilly is one of the largest in France
The hall of honour

Works in the art gallery (many of them are in the Tribune Room) include Sassetta's Mystic Marriage of St. Francis, Botticelli's Autumn, Piero di Cosimo's Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci, Raphael's Three Graces and Madonna of Loreto, Guercino's Pietà, Pierre Mignard's Portrait of Molière as well as four of Antoine Watteau's paintings and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's Le concert champêtre. Other paintings in the collection include works by Fra Angelico, Filippino Lippi, Hans Memling, 260 paintings and drawings by François and Jean Clouet, Veronese, Barocci, Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Salvator Rosa, Nicolas Poussin, Philippe de Champaigne, Van Dyck, Guido Reni, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Joshua Reynolds, Eugène Delacroix, Ingres, Géricault.

The library of the Petit Château contains over 1,500 manuscripts and 17,500 printed volumes, that is part of the collection of over 700 incunabula, and some 300 medieval manuscripts, including one page of the Registrum Gregorii (c. 983), the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, the Ingeborg Psalter and 40 miniatures from Jean Fouquet's Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier. Also in the museum's collection is the Chantilly codex (MS 564), the primary manuscript of ars subtilior music.[5]

Park and Chantilly racecourse

The Château seen from the sky
The Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) and the Château

The main French formal garden, featuring extensive parterres and water features, was laid out principally by André Le Nôtre for the Grand Condé. The park also contains a French landscape garden with a cascade, pavilions, and a rustic ersatz village, the Hameau de Chantilly. The latter inspired the Hameau de la reine of Marie Antoinette in the Gardens of Versailles.

The estate overlooks the Chantilly Racecourse and the Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) which contains the Living Museum of the Horse. According to legend, Louis Henri, Duc de Bourbon, Prince of Condé believed that he would be reincarnated as a horse after his death. In 1719, he asked the architect Jean Aubert to build stables suitable to his rank.

Modern uses

The Château has various modern uses:

  • The Molteni Campagnolo cycling team, including star rider Eddy Merckx, are seen riding past the chateau towards the beginning of Jorgen Leth's seminal documentary, A Sunday In Hell, on the way to the start line of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race.[6]
  • The château and the Great Stables were featured in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, as the home of villainous Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken) which was being infiltrated by Bond (played for the last time by Roger Moore) in his quest to find out more about Zorin, who had already aroused suspicions of MI6 with various business activities, and ultimately eliminate him.[7]
  • Pink Floyd performed, on two consecutive nights, at the château during their The Division Bell tour on 30–31 July 1994.
  • Every two years, in June, the "Nuits de Feu" international fireworks competition is held in the château's garden.
  • Ronaldo married model and MTV VJ Daniela Cicarelli in the château in 2005. The ceremony reportedly cost €700,000.
  • Every May, a rowing regatta, the Trophee des Rois, is held in the grounds. French university crews compete in the 750m race for a trophy.
  • The château appeared on the finale of the French reality competition Amazing Race in 2012.[8]
  • David Gilmour, guitarist and singer of Pink Floyd, performed at the venue on 16 July 2016 as part of his Rattle That Lock world tour.
  • The video game Battlefield 1 features a level that is based around the Château called "Ballroom Blitz".
  • The trailer for the finals of the 2019 League of Legends World Championship was filmed inside and around the chateau.
  • The fifth leg of The Amazing Race 32 had a Roadblock and a Speed Bump take place on the grounds of the château.[9]

See also

  • List of works by Henri Chapu
  • Château d'Enghien (Chantilly)


  1. ^ World Monuments Fund - Château de Chantilly
  2. ^ Le Figaro, "Les Batailles du Grand Condé", 15 October 2007. (in French)
  3. ^ Jon Henley, The Guardian, "Aga Khan gives £27m to Chantilly restoration", 3 May 2005.
  4. ^ Wendy Moonan, New York Times, "Chateau’s Monkey Room Is Lovingly Restored," 30 May 2008.
  5. ^ Uncle Dave Lewis. "Anonymous, Codex Chantilly". All Music. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. ^ Chateau in the background of the Jorgen Leth documentary, 'A Sunday In Hell'
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Résumé PRIME de Amazing Race". L'INFOnet de la Real Tv (in French). December 24, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Caruso, Nick (November 11, 2020). "Amazing Race Recap: Horsin' Around". TVLine. Retrieved November 12, 2020.

External links

Coordinates:49°11′38″N 2°29′09″E / 49.19389°N 2.48583°E / 49.19389; 2.48583

Media files used on this page

Chantilly3 tango7174.jpg
Author/Creator: Tango7174, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Château de Chantilly, Oise, Picardie, France. Le cabinet des Livres.
Chantilly4 tango7174.jpg
Author/Creator: Tango7174, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Château de Chantilly, Oise, Picardie, France. La chapelle des Cœurs des princes de Condé.
Château de Chantilly, vu du ciel.JPG
Author/Creator: Pierre-Alain Bandinelli, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
The Château de Chantilly is a historic château located in the town of Chantilly, France.
Chantilly2 tango7174.jpg
Author/Creator: Tango7174, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Château de Chantilly, Oise, Picardie, France. Le vestibule d'honneur.
Château Chantilly 1.jpg
Author/Creator: Jebulon, Licence: CC0
Château de Chantilly, Oise department, France, as seen from north-west.
Author/Creator: Pierre-Alain Bandinelli, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
The town of Chantilly, France, with the Château de Chantilly and the Grandes Ecuries (Great Stables)
Chateau de Chantilly FRA 010.JPG
Author/Creator: ignis, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Le cabinet du Giotto, Musée Condé (Chantilly, France)
Chantilly - Le château du XVIIIe.jpg

Le château de Chantilly au XVIIIe siècle, après les travaux effectués par les Condé. Gouache de Jean-Baptiste Lallemand, musée Condé.