Things to do

Visit the magnificent Domaine de Chantilly

Home to Europe’s largest stables and a magical 18th century castle, Domaine de Chantilly is just two-and-a-half hours from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle’s Calais terminal.

For a mix of architecture, history, and heritage, Domaine de Chantilly is the place to be. It’s also an equestrian’s heaven, with its great stables attracting horse enthusiasts from around the world.

Bring the whole family to enjoy the castle and its grounds and soak up some culture in the art museum and stables. Don’t forget to sample some strawberries with the local speciality cream too.

Driving to Domaine de Chantilly from Calais

Driving to Domaine de Chantilly will take around 2 hours 28 minutes from Calais, via the A16. Although this isn’t the longest of journeys, you might want to stop en route. We recommend Amiens, a surprisingly quaint and colourful town, or Abbeville, home to one of the oldest belfries in France, but you could just as easily divert to the coast at Boulogne-sur-Mer, especially if your trip takes place in the warmer months. 

If you are travelling a little farther after your visit to Domaine de Chantilly, we also recommend Château de Chambord. This is the real castle the animators of the original 1991 Oscar-nominated film Beauty and the Beast based the fictional castle on. 

About Domaine de Chantilly

Domaine de Chantilly is just over 20 minutes from central Paris. Here you will find a forest, castle, and stables, plus it’s the birthplace of the famous whipped cream (Chantilly is French for whipped cream).

Many come here as a day trip from Paris, but there’s so much to see and do you’d be forgiven for returning. 

A large castle with ornate towers and a moat of clear water around it under a blue sky

Things to see and do

Domaine de Chantilly has plenty to entertain, so take your pick of activities.

Château de Chantilly

Much like the castles of the Loire Valley, the château de Chantilly is a fairytale building that’s delightful both inside and out. It was originally built in 1560 for Anne de Montmorency, the Constable of France, and Honorary Knight of the Garter.

Built in a typical French Renaissance style, it’s a combination of two buildings, the Petit Château, and the Grand Château. The latter was destroyed during the French Revolution but rebuilt in 1875-1882.

High domed ceiling covered in ornate golden plasterwork and painted with colourful frescos of angels

A bookworm’s delight, the castle’s library holds nearly 17,000 works. Perhaps even more impressive, it also has the second largest collection of old paintings after the Louvre. It’s bequeathed it to the Institut de France on one condition: that none of the works do not leave the property, even for temporary exhibitions!

The great stables

The château de Chantilly’s stables have been in use for more than three centuries. They are the largest in all of Europe, still in use today, and put on impressive equestrian spectacles year-round.

Housed in the Great Stables (Grandes Écuries) is the Living Museum of the Horse (Musée Vivant du Cheval) dedicated to equine art and culture. You’ll get a glimpse across the stable’s past and plenty of fascinating facts about horses. 

Two large horse heads cast in bronze standing on plinths outside a grand looking building with large glass windows

The park and gardens

The 115 hectares of park which surround the château are perfect for a stroll. The work of André Le Nôtre (who once said these gardens were a favourite among all he had designed), created an Anglo-Chinese-garden and English garden, as well as sculptures and water fountains. Marie-Antoinette was so inspired after a visit, she wanted a similar version of the gardens created for herself. 

The immense pools of water are meant to reflect the sky, and you’ll find hidden streams, statues, and animals in every possible corner. It is really a joy to spend time wandering.

The Condé Museum

The Condé Museum is second only to the Louvre with its impressive collection of 15th to 19th century paintings. You will find works from famed artists Raphaël, Nicolas Poussin, Clouet, Fra Angelico, and many others, and, as we mentioned, you can only ever see these pieces here, as all of the paintings and statues on display protected by a “no loaning” clause established by the Duke d’Aumale, Henri d’Orléans.

Equestrian shows

The stables often put on shows that celebrate horses and all their talents. Typically an hour long, they are held in a stunning arena and part of your ticket price includes a walk through the main stables to meet the horses and a chance to see the museum. Dressage is usually presented on a theme, with exceptional lighting and costumes.

Horses racing over green grass in front of a large French chateau.

Les Journées des Plantes de Chantilly

Les Journées des Plantes de Chantilly is an unmissable showcase of more than 200 of the most prestigious nurseries and other exhibitors in Europe, all within the grounds of the castle. You can learn about the plants, biodiversity, the latest garden trends, and conservation, as well as take in the gardens, castle, and stables.

The event happens twice a year, in spring and autumn, with information about dates, times, and prices updated here.

Visit Domaine de Chantilly with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

A trip to Domaine de Chantilly will likely inspire you to see more of France’s châteaux. Be sure to see our guide to the best to help plan your trip.

Eurotunnel le Shuttle can get you from Folkestone UK to Calais France in just 35 minutes, and soon you’ll be marvelling at all that Domaine de Chantilly can offer. What are you waiting for? Book tickets today.

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