Chantilly, Oise tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Chantilly (Picardy region)

Visit Chantilly (Picardy, France)

The town of Chantilly, in the Picardy region of France, is about 40 kilometres north of Paris and 10 kilometres to the west of Senlis.

Exploring Chantilly

There are several sites and places of interest to visit in Chantilly although there are two particular features for which the town is known: the Château de Chantilly and whipped cream! Chantilly is listed as a 'town of art and history'.

Château de Chantilly

The castle will be the first port of call for many visitors here, and indeed many get no further. It is useful to realise that the castle falls into two separate parts:</>

  • the original 16th century part built for the Montmorency family and called the Petit Château
  • the 19th century addition called the Château Neuf, built on the site of a part of the original castle that had been destroyed

Chateau de Chantilly

The castle is entered by passing through a broad 'wall' of decorative stone arches and into a courtyard area which then leads to the main buildings of the Chateau. There is a great deal to see both outside and inside the castle so allow plenty of time for a visit.

In the Petit Chateau you can mostly see the living accommodation as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries and in the Chateau Neuf you can see libraries, art galleries and a chapel. The salons and apartments in the main castle are beautifully furnished with chairs, tapestries and candelabras from the 18th century.

Around the outside of the castle there are formally laid out gardens and extensive parkland to explore. The most unusual feature of the Chantilly gardens is the large amount of water features: instead of a moat the castle has lakes to front and rear and the gardens themselves also incorporate large pond areas. Another highlight in the gardens is the small hamlet of thatched cottages built in the 18th century as a 'garden feature'.

The formal gardens still retain the plan (but not the plants) as designed by André Le Nôtre, the famous 17th century landscape designer also responsible for the gardens at Versailles, among others.

Within the castle you can also visit the Condé Museum. The museum has a wide range of items but is best known for its very extensive collection of paintings by the best known artists of the 16th-19th centuries such as Delacroix and Corot.

Other places of interest in Chantilly

Horse enthusiast will certainly want to visit the Grand Stables ('Les Grandes Écuries'), a very substantial 18th century building which is still used for demonstrations of dressage and other spectacles. It is home to the 'Living Museum of the Horse' (musée vivant du cheval), a popular museum with numerous artefacts relating to horses from horse-pulled carriages to paintings and drawings.

The horse theme continues with Chantilly Hippodrome. This was built next to the Les Grandes Écuries in the 19th century and is one of the most important racecourses in France.

Crème Chantilly

Crème Chantilly is cream that is whipped (creme fraiche is used in France) and sugar added. The name Chantilly cream is also often used outside France.

The name Chantilly has taken over the 'whipped cream business' and everywhere you go in France you will find that whipped cream is referred to as 'creme chantilly' or even just 'la chantilly'. In budget restaurants and private houses it is usually supplied direct from a canister of squirting cream.

The name of the cream is thought to have its origins in a recipe once prepared in the kitchens of the Château de Chantilly.

Moulin des Princes in Chantilly

A second garden in Chantilly, more modest in scale but also interesting to visit, is the Potager des Princes. Originally used for raising pheasants then left to abandon for a long period the garden has now been restored and developed and includes various garden areas (eg a japanese garden, a bamboo garden, a potager...) and water features as well as birds and an animal park. The Potager des Princes is very popular with visitors with children.

In the centre of Chantilly, a few minutes from the castle, one of the most imposing buildings is the moulin des princes (also called the Pavillon de Manse) on the banks of the river Nonette.

The history of the building is interesting: it was built in the 17th century to protect the machine that ensured there was always plenty of water for the fountains and lakes at the Chateau de Chantilly. In recent years the original machinery has been renovated and reconstructed and can now be visited.

 
 

One of the prettiest houses in the town, and something of a contrast to all the grand buildings you have seen so far, is the Hôtel de Beauvais. Built in the first half of the 16th century at 12, Rue du Connétable this is the oldest houses in Chantilly. There are other interesting houses to discover if you follow along Rue de Connétable such as the Hôtel Quinquempoix (no. 50) and the hôtel d'Andigné de la Chasse (no. 74).

Another notable monument here in Chantilly is the Church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, also built in the 17th century. The church is most interesting for its grand entrance and for the various artworks and decorative elements inside the church.

There are several other places of interest to see - visit the Chantilly Tourist Office (at 73 rue du Connétable) for a leaflet suggesting a route to follow as you explore the town centre.

Etangs de Commelles

Attractions nearby

The principal attractions close to the town are the chances to enjoy the natural environment of the Chantilly Forest and along the valley of the Nonette River. The forest is very extensive and incorporates numerous trails and chances to appreciate the flora and fauna of the region.

Among the most picturesque villages close to Chantilly we suggest you take a stroll around Coye-la-Foret (within Chantilly Forest) to see the Castle of the White Queen ('Château de la Reine-Blanche') in a lovely position on the Comelles Ponds.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Oise guide and the Picardy guide.

See also:

Map of Chantilly and places nearby

Visit near Chantilly with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Oise

Tourist classifications for Chantilly

Chantilly is classified as a listed town of Art and History

Address: Chantilly, Senlis, Picardy, 60500, France || GPS: latitude 49.193175, longitude 2.465165

Plan your visit to Chantilly, Oise

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Jardin et parc du château de Chantilly: remarkable garden
  • Potager des Princes: remarkable garden
  • Forêt de Chantilly: site of natural beauty (4 km)
  • Abbatiale Saint Nicolas (Saint-Leu-d'Esserent): religious monument (4 km)
  • Oise-Pays de France: regional natural parc (7 km)
  • Parc de l'abbaye de Royaumont: remarkable garden (8 km)
  • Cathédrale Notre Dame (Senlis): religious monument (9 km)
  • Senlis: secteur sauvegarde (9 km)
  • Parc Asterix: theme park (10 km)
  • Parc du château de Valgenceuse: remarkable garden (10 km)
  • Abbaye Cistercienne de Royaumont (Asnieres-sur-Oise): religious monument (10 km)
  • Foret d'Halette: site of natural beauty (11 km)

Market days in Chantilly, France

Regular market(s) are held in Chantilly each Wednesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Chantilly (Francais)