Chantilly Castle

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Chantilly, castle and park

The Chantilly Castle is located in the French town of Chantilly in Oise , about 50 kilometers northeast of Paris .

It was built around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency and, after the main line of Montmorency died out in 1643, was inherited by the Princes of Bourbon-Condé , whose seat it remained until they died out in 1830 - with interruptions during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. It then fell to the Duke of Aumale , a younger son of the bourgeois king Louis-Philippe , who had the castle rebuilt in 1876-82, which had been destroyed during the Revolution, and bequeathed it to the Institut de France .

The castle of Chantilly is especially famous for its park, its collection of paintings and its riding stud. The castle and the park are open to visitors.


Chantilly Castle in the 17th century (3D illustration)

In 1484 an older predecessor building came into the possession of the noble house of Montmorency , and between 1528 and 1551 the medieval castle was considerably expanded by the French military leader Anne de Montmorency and converted into a Renaissance castle, an irregular triangle with towers and a double tower gate. Numerous structural changes were made in the following three hundred years. With his grandson Henri II. De Montmorency , who was executed in 1632 for taking part in an uprising against Cardinal Richelieu , the main line of Montmorency went extinct. His goods - including Chantilly and Écouen Castle - were initially owned by Louis XIII. confiscated, but then, since Henri II was childless, returned to his sister Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency . She was married to a cousin of the king, Henri II. De Bourbon, prince de Condé , and was once briefly the mistress of his father Henry IV . She inherited the title of Duchess of Montmorency.


The legacy of Montmorency passed to the House of Bourbon-Condé , a branch line of the Bourbon royal family . From 1643 to 1830 the castle remained the residence of the Dukes of Bourbon-Condé - interrupted by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. Charlotte-Marguerite was followed by her son Louis II. De Bourbon, prince de Condé (called the Grand Condé ). The castle was also confiscated from him for a time, between 1652 and 1659, because he had stood against Cardinal Jules Mazarin during the Fronde . The castle was returned to him after the Peace of the Pyrenees , but since he was unwelcome in Versailles , he spent a lot of time beautifying Chantilly. He bought countless furniture and works of art. In 1671 he reconciled himself with Louis XIV and received him in Chantilly. At that time, he commissioned André Le Nôtre to design the park, even before it created that of Versailles. 1671–73 the Grand Canal and the garden parterres were laid out and expanded until 1688; it is one of the most famous baroque gardens in France and combines huge pools of water with equally large lawns and wide lines of sight to the horizon. The entire park axis is oriented towards a baroque central building that was never erected, of which only a bastion-like substructure exists. The great Condé , as he was called, welcomed writers such as La Fontaine , La Bruyère , Bossuet , Madame de La Fayette , Madame de Sévigné , Mademoiselle de Scudéry and the philosopher Malebranche here . Condé gave lavish parties and Molière wrote The Ridiculous Precious and performed Tartuffe here . Condé had an avenue of philosophers made of two-trunked rows of trees. Towards the end of his life he commissioned Mansart to modernize the interior.

Chantilly Castle in the 18th century (3D illustration)

The son of the great Condé , Henri Jules de Bourbon, prince de Condé , known as Condé Le Fol (the crazy Condé) , spent enormous sums to have the palace redesigned from the outside in the Baroque architectural style by Mansart and Jean Aubert . He had a pentagonal courtyard built into the triangular complex. His grandson, Louis IV. De Condé , who was not very successful as Prime Minister from 1723 to 1725, then withdrew to Chantilly, where he had the interior furnished by well-known masters such as Oudry , Desportes , Huet and Nattier . From 1775, his son Louis V. de Condé had an idealized farming village built in the park, the outdoor area of ​​which was redesigned in the style of English landscape gardens in the 18th century , which was designed as a rural idyll according to contemporary tastes and which Queen Marie Antoinette as a model for chose her hameau (German: little village ) in the park of the Petit Trianon .

Typical Chantilly parquet in the Musée Condé
View of the castle, park and racetrack

The son of Louis VI. de Condé fled abroad when the French Revolution broke out in 1789 and opposed the revolution and Napoleon's rule from there . In his homeland he was declared a traitor and his property was confiscated. In 1814 he returned together with Louis XVIII. back to France. In 1830 he bequeathed his estate, which also included Chantilly, to his great-nephew Henri von Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-1897). In 1876–82, Aumale had a new palace built on the foundation walls of the Great Palace, which was completely destroyed during the Revolution, based on the plans of the French architect Honoré Daumet (1826–1911). The historicist style corresponded to the taste of the second half of the 19th century. Aumale expanded the Condé art collection considerably.

In 1834 the racecourse was founded, which together with the stud achieved international fame. The horse stables from 1719 are not only among the largest and most magnificent stables in the world, they also offer an impressive picture of the architecture of the Ancien Régime . In 1886 Aumale bequeathed the castle, its parks and outbuildings to the Institut de France .

During the First World War , this was the headquarters of the French armed forces . Several Allied conferences were also held here. Today it is open for viewing.

With the Musée Condé, the castle houses one of the largest private art collections in the world, as well as a historical library in the Small Castle with 700 manuscripts and 12,000 valuable books, including the Très Riches Heures and a Gutenberg Bible .

Chantilly Castle is the namesake for a certain parquet pattern , the Chantilly parquet (parquet Chantilly) .


"Of all the places that the sun shines, there is none like this anymore."

"Why was I taken to Versailles seven times and never here?"

- Richard Nixon on his state visit in 1969


The castle was used as the backdrop for the James Bond feature film In the Face of Death .

See also


Iris Lauterbach: The garden of Chantilly in 1784. The album du Comte du Nord in the Musée Condé . In: Die Gartenkunst 2 (2/1990), pp. 217–237.

Web links

Commons : Chantilly Castle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Hameau de Chantilly  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jean-Claude Corbeil, Ariane Archambault: Le Visuel - définitions. Dictionnaire thématique 3rd edition, Québec Amérique, Montreal 2004, p. 254.
  2. quoted from: Le Domaine de Chantilly ( Memento of the original from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Institut de France, April 2006.
  3. Chantilly, capital of the horse , Label France, No. 48, October 2002. Label France is a multilingual quarterly magazine of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dating 1968 seems to be a mistake. Nixon was Charles de Gaulle's guest on a state visit from February 28 to March 2, 1969 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 11 ′ 38 ″  N , 2 ° 29 ′ 9 ″  E