Things to do
Straight from the pages of a fairy tale, Domaine de Chantilly and its two châteaux (grand and petit) are the major draw here. Fringed by water and with its mix of ornate 16th century and post-Revolution architecture, it has take-your-breath-away good looks. But it’s more than a pretty face. Inside, Musée Condé houses one of France’s most significant art collections – second only to the Louvre. You can also pause at L'Eglise Notre-dame de Chantilly, the first – and finest – church in town. And see the Great Stables, Europe’s largest, where horses live like kings and put on jaw-dropping displays.
For centuries, Chantilly lace has been famed the world over – favoured by Louis XIV through to the Duchess of Cambridge, who famously wore it on her Royal wedding day. This intricate local craft first came to the fore in the 17th century, when Chantilly became a centre point for lacemaking schools across France. Today, visitors can marvel at the beauty and complexity of Chantilly’s signature monochrome lace, and discover its influence, at Musée de la Dentelle.
Little ones can go in search of fairies and folklore in Chantilly Forest, 6000+ hectares of imagination-stirring woodland. It skirts Domaine de Chantilly, making it an easy addition to any day trip. Listen out for the distant sound of hooves – it’s also popular horse riding territory.