Sunday, April 17, 2005


We wanted to take a day trip somewhere with my father and his wife today. We ended up driving out to Chantilly, about 20 miles north of Paris. We drove straight to town and got a wonderful quick crepe lunch. Then we drove back to the Chateau.

We've been to Chantilly a few times. It's easy to get to and has a beautiful chateau, an impressive art museum, grand park grounds and many things to entertain children.

My father and his wife checked out the Conde Museum, located in the Chateau. This museum has the largest collection of historical paintings in France, after the Louvre. While they were looking at the art, we headed to a rock climbing area. We'd been there before when the kids were much younger. They were much more confident climbing this time around. Here is my son on top waving.

After some time, we all walked over to the children's playground. To get there you have to walk through Le Hameau area. These are cottages that were built by the Prince de Conde so he could host country-style dinners and late suppers. These hamlets were what inspired Marie Antoinette to build her own Hameau in Versailles. There are lots of things for the kids to explore in this area... canals, waterfalls, and a mini-labyrinth. My daughter remembered the "maze" from her last trip here and asked to try it again. She must have been impressed to remember it from two years ago -- when she was three.

I've just told you what we did today. There is so much more! There are electric boats to rent. The boats cruise on the Grand Canal, designed by Le Notre. There is a mini train to enable you to see much more of the nearly 285 acre estate. A kangaroo park is located at one end of the park. In the warm weather there are horse drawn carriages.

Additionally, if all this doesn't interest you, head a little ways down the road from the Chateau to the Living Museum of the Horse. I've actually never gone inside this building, but it's just beautiful on the outside.

Don't you agree?

* Update. Considering my mother-in-law is a lacemaker, I forgot to mention that Chantilly France is also know for lace (and whipped cream, I might add)! There are many examples of the black Chantilly lace in the Conde Museum. In downtown Chantilly, there is a lace museum.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:21 PM



It's gorgeous! Sounds like you all had a wonderful day.

# posted by Donna : 4:23 AM  

Hi Auntie !

>>the Living Museum of the Horse. I've actually never
>>gone inside this building, but it's just beautiful
>>on the outside.

Great pic of the Museum ! The building is lavish: it contains the stables for the Prince's horses. The reason that the sables are so beautiful is that the Prince de Conde believed that after his death he was going to be reincarnated as a horse.

Chantilly is a town devoted 100% to horses, as is Newmarket in the UK.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 8:12 AM  

Oh Auntie M, what a lovely life you are having...

# posted by BrocanteHome : 9:49 AM  

My husband and I just talked about Chantilly last night. Can you get there by train or will we need to rent a car?

# posted by Oz : 10:32 AM  

Wow! What a beautiful adventure that is. The most adventure I've had lately was tripping over an overturned trash can on the street. :( I live adventures through your stories!

# posted by Rory : 1:36 PM  

Pure magic!


# posted by Anonymous : 3:11 PM  

Auntie! What will we do if/when you move away from France? I have this feeling that when I do visit France someday, and I'm visiting all the areas, I will be saying to myself "I've been here before, I know it!" because of your beautiful, descriptive entries. Thanks so much for sharing with us. (And is the Eiffel Tower as exciting as it seems to be, getting a glimpse of it here and there, the base, the tower itself? You should write your own book!

# posted by Laura from beautiful West Michigan : 3:34 PM  

Hi Oz !

Have no fear: there are daily trains to and from Chantilly. Quite a few residents work in Paris and do the daily commute. During the Spring horseracing season (mid-May to mid-June, say) there are extra midday trains to bring the punters out to the track, which has recently been "modernized" and has lost a bit of the Belle Epoque appeal it used to have.

The Prix du Jockey Club is traditionally run on the first Sunday in June. It is equivalent to the Epsom Derby, i.e., 2400 meters (a mile and a half): the race to choose the year's best three-year old. Our Kentucky Derby is 2000 meters (a mile and a quarter). The Jockey Club is the same distance as the Belmont, the third leg of the US Triple Crown.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 5:31 PM  

Hi Oz !

Have no fear: there are daily trains to and from Chantilly. During the Spring horceracing season (mid-May to end June, say) there are more midday trains laid on to bring the punters out to the track.

The Prix du Jockey Club is traditionally run on the first Sunday in June. It is 2400 meters (a mile and a half) and serves the same purpose as the Epsom Derby: to choose the best three-year old of the year. The US Kentucky Derby is only 2000 meters (a mile and a quarter). The Belmont Stakes, the third race in the US Triple Crown, is 2400 meters. The Melbourne Cup, by the way, is 3200 meters, i.e., two miles – quite a bit longer ! It is also a handicap. Don't worry - Makybe Diva is famous among the Chantilly cognoscenti. (smile)


# posted by L'Amerloque : 5:49 PM  

I was here yesterday and did'nt comment! Like the pics! Like the one with your kid on the rocks!

# posted by mrsmogul : 6:05 PM  

Auntie, you are such a tourist for life!

# posted by Sammy : 7:05 PM  

You forgot to mention that Chantilly was also the center of the production of a 19thC lace by the same name. Huge quantities of it were made in the region. There is a small museum dedicated to this lace in the center of town and worthwhile if you are not interested in horses!

# posted by Anonymous : 7:23 PM  

Donna, We did have a nice family day. We lucked out on the weather.
L'A, Thank you for the compliment and for the factoid. Very interesting.
Brocante, Yes, I try to appreciate what I have and how lucky I am.
Oz, L'A was kind enough to answer your question. Thanks L'A.
Rory, I do feel like living in Paris is a great adventure.
BP, Thanks.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:52 PM  

Laura, Thank you for your nice note. One day soon I will move back to the US and I think it will be fine. It's just a different kind of life. Yes, I do think the Eiffel Tower is just as cool as you might imagine. It's big and beautiful and I never tire of looking at her. Come to France to see for yourself!
MrsMogul, My son loves climbing rocks and yesterday he was in heaven with all the exploring he was able to do.
Sammy, I love doing the tourist thing in Paris -- there is so much to do!
A, An excellent point. I meant to mention the Chantilly Lace. I will add to my post.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:56 PM  

What an awesome day trip. Henry loved seeing Matt on the rocks.
What a fun day.
BTW, I hope if/when you move back to the states you still do a blog. I love your pictures and journaling.

# posted by BohemianMama : 11:12 PM  

Thanks L'Amerloque!

# posted by Oz : 11:22 PM  

Your MIL may like this store, Lacis (www.lacis.com). I go there once in awhile - it is wonderful, although myself, I am not a lacemaker but I like my eyes to see lace...Wonderful trip it looks and more beautiful buildings! Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 5:11 AM  

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