I woke up at 8am, took a shower, and ate a bowl of cereal. My DH wakes up an hour later. Yesterday was a long day and we both could use more sleep. But that is not going to stop us today. Today we are going to see some horses at the Château de Chantilly.
Chantilly is the horse-racing capital of France. The Chateau has its origins in Gallo-Roman times and consists of three large parks and an outstanding horse stable. To get there, we need to take a 25-minute Grande Ligne train to the northeast. Why are we visiting this chateau? I saw an advertisement for it in the Metro and it looked pretty, that’s why.
Getting train tickets to the Chateau took some time. The ticket booths at Gard de Nord were closed – on a Thursday? We bit the bullet and used a kiosk with our credit-card-with-a-chip! It was a hassle to get this card in the states but we are so glad with did!
We make our 11:10am train with 2 minutes to spare. I pull out my phone and search the web for French holidays. Sure enough, today celebrates the “Assumption of Mary” and public offices are closed. OK, that mystery has been solved.
The train ride is nice. It is a beautiful day – sunny, warm, blue skies, thin white clouds over freshly harvested hay fields — we could not get much luckier for weather.
When we arrive at the train station in Chantilly, we find signs pointing to the Chateau. We follow them along with a number of Asian tourists from the train. I had read in a number of postings in Tripadvisor that the chateau was about a mile and a half away from the train station. We could have gotten a taxi, but it is a nice day. We walk through a tree lined path and open fields next to the racetrack.
We arrive at the Grande Stables in about 20 minutes, around noon. We purchase tickets for the Chateau, the museum, and the “Spectacular” – a circus-like horse show. As my DH uses the bathroom, I take a look around the grande stables.
After looking at the horses, we get a snack at the café next to the stables and plan the rest of our day. It is nearly 1pm and the horse show starts at 2:30pm. There is not enough time to tour the chateau so we decide to walk around the English garden associated with the estate.
This place is HUGE! The distance between the stables and the garden is at least a mile! We make it back to the stables for the show just before they close the doors. We find seats, the lights go dark, and the show begins in a wonderfully old show ring attached to the stables. The show is wonderful! It was about a circus troupe who lost their Big Top and found this little “shed” to rehearse for their big show in Paris – all spoken in French. Photographs are not allow so you will just have to take my word for it that the horses were magnificent!
After the show, we return to the Chateau (yes, we walk another mile back to it) and tour the museum. The Condé Museum’s painting collection makes it the number one museum of ancient paintings (prior to 1850) in France after the Louvre Museum. Comprised of more than a dozen rooms, there are over 800 masterpieces of French, Italian, Flemish, English painting and more.
We also tour the apartments.
It is 5:25pm by the time we finish viewing the apartments. We stop at the restaurant and order the Chantilly Cream with a carafe of cool water. Both were delicious!
We decide to take a walk through the other two gardens of the chateau before they closed at 8pm. Instead, we hop on the little teal train that takes a tour through the two other gardens . It was a lovely ride and we saw all the major attractions of the estate. There is no way we could have walked to these places – the distances are just too large. As I said before, these parks are HUGE and we love trains!
It was another 2 mile walk back to the train station. This time we walked through the town of Chantilly – all quiet due to the holiday. Chantilly appears to be a nice little town with shops and restaurants – all with a white facades.
We make the 7pm train with two minutes to spare! We were back in our apartment around 8pm.
We look through our refrigerator and make a meal of Beef Bourguignon (from the Bon Marche Grand Epicerie), fried potatoes with mushrooms (leftovers from a couple of nights ago), and Ham Tortellini with yellow beans (from the Monoprix). My DH says that this meal was as good as any meal with would have gotten in a restaurant – I agree!
I put a load of laundry in the washer. When it was done, I transferred the clothes to the dryer. Before going to bed, my DH checked his stocks and I finished reading my ebook. Our only goal for tomorrow is to sleep late. It is hard to believe that we only have 10 more days in Paris. Where did the time go?
Quote of the day: “Three gardens. Don’t you think that is a bit excessive?” — Anna