Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cerise went to #Paris, stayed in #Montmarte, went to #chateau of #Chantilly and ate in famous #kitchen!

View from our 6th floor Paris apartment in Montmarte!
A sunny day in October!
Known as the largest, best preserved of the grand chateaux in France, Chantilly is a gorgeous edifice in the Paris suburbs. To get there, as we did, by RER train, is quick and easy. We had a NAVIGO card, which I recommend you buy and so our trip was quick and affordable. It was especially so because we stayed in Montmarte, and here is our view from our apartment.

Chantilly, originally built by the Montmorency family, was owned by the great rival of Louis XIV, the Grande Conde. This nobleman led a famous battle which he won resoundingly, and thus became a powerful man in his own right. He rebelled against the famed Louis, but lost his hegemony. I leave it to you to investigate further, should you desire. My attempt here is to give you highlights, not necessarily the in depth history of the chateau.
One entrance through which you access the
kitchen, now a restaurant that serves marvelous food!

Devolving from the Montmorency family, Chantilly went to the Grande Conde and then after the French Revolution and Napoleon, on to the Bourbons once again. The last owner was the nephew of the last Bourbon king to rule France, known as the Duke D'Aumale. It is his house and furnishings which are largely on display at this marvelous estate.

Known for the stables and horse breeding, the stud is a well known one in France and today it is still used for races and such. The arena is huge and on the Sunday we visited, they were hosting a competition there beyond the elaborate gates.

Along the moat, the house seems to float.
Inside the main house, the grandeur tends to overwhelm with huge circular marble staircases, a superlative art collection including portraits of each of the Bourbon kings and the original of the 3 Graces.

If you go, do plan enough time to dine in the kitchen which is now a fabulous restaurant. Yes, they serve Chantilly cream on their puffs for dessert. But the rest of the menu is scrumptious, too. If you have seen the movie VALMONT about the famous French chef who served a famous house party where Louis XIV was guest, you will sit in the same room as he...and dine well!
The main entrance to the chateau. 
Entrance to the stables. Inside is a show arena.
Rococco decor on the front gates of the stables.
Chairs in the Duke's office, not exactly conducive to conversation!

The music room with the duchess's harp.

A bust of the Grande Conde.

The family chapel in the chateau. Note the French canopy of blue and gold as well as
the black marble altar pieces. Inside these are buried the hearts of the dukes who lived here.
Yes, this was a tradition until the last duke to give his heart after death in the 1860s.

I leave you with a picture that was the very devil to take!
The ornate ceiling of the family chapel with its shields, carvings of gold and blue amid the light
from fabulous stained glass windows.

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