Chantilly. Even the name is kind of magical. Especially the way the French pronounce it. Shon-tee-ee.
But despite this fairytale name (and the fairytale castle to boot), I never went out there. Until this week (on Day One of the honeymoon trip, I should add).
The town is perhaps best known as the place where Chantilly Cream comes from. But it’s also known for its stunning 16th-century chateau, the likes of which provided the backdrop for James Bond and Audrey Hepburn films (A View to a Kill and Funny Face, respectively).
Look, there’s one of the ceilings from the art galleries.
So, after visiting this week and exploring the area, I can confidently say that it’s (probably) the best day trip you can take out of Paris. Did you know that it’s just 24 minutes away on the train?
Me, I came out here on a scooter, and I can tell you that it took a lot longer than 24 minutes. But boy oh boy was it worth it.
The chateau itself will knock your socks off. There’s artwork by Raphael, Delacroix, Ingres, Botticelli and many more in the galleries, which are said to be only rivalled by the Louvre for their classical collection.
There are horses galore too, with equestrian shows, an enormous horse museum, and so many horse head sculptures that it felt a bit like an homage to the Godfather. In fact, if you’re a Patreon supporter of The Earful Tower then you can get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at these Great Stables.
And what’s more, you can have the ultimate thrill of actually tasting Chantilly Cream right in the castle grounds, where they tell you it was invented. Rather pricey, sure, at 9 euros for three scoops of sorbet with it, but it was delicious.
Forget Versailles and its masses of tourists, try Chantilly. Versailles doesn’t even have its own cream.
And let it be known, there’s plenty more than one day’s worth to see here, so if you decide to spend the night (as I did), then consider checking out the Courtyard Chantilly, run by a lovely Irish woman called Susan, and located right in the heart of the town.
The lodge was just a seconds from the train station, and it felt like we were staying in our own little Chateau for a night. Check it out here, and say hello from The Earful if you ever make it out there: Here’s the Airbnb page. (Note: As of November 2018 onwards, it’s available for longer terms rentals – message them for more details).
So, here’s a two-minute look at Chantilly (below – and subscribe on YouTube for more like this):
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