The stunning Château de Chantilly is in the French-Renaissance architectural style, inspired by the Italian Renaissance. The château’s exterior presents typical French Renaissance elements such as a cream-white limestone façade, stripped windows, round and faceted towers, iron crestings and finials (ornamentations attached to the roof), stone balustrades, and a high roof. (Daniel Villafruela/CC BY 3.0)
Formerly owned by the son of the last king of France, the Château de Chantilly, located north of Paris in the town of Chantilly, is an homage to France’s rich culture and past.
Throughout eight centuries, the grounds of Chantilly belonged to noble families, close to royal power. The domain was maintained and embellished by its several owners, according to the fashion of the time. In the Middle Ages, it was a fortified castle that successively belonged to the Bouteiller, the Orgemont, and the Montmorency families. In the 16th century, Constable Anne de Montmorency (the first officer of the crown) renovated the castle in a Renaissance style with a simple exterior. In the 17th century, the chateau hosted the greatest writers of the day: Racine, La Fontaine, Molière, and others. Legend says that whipped cream (Chantilly cream) originated at the château.
The last owner was Henri d’Orléans (1822–1897), the Duke of Aumale, one of the sons of the last king of France, Louis-Philippe. In 1886, the duke gifted his Chantilly estate to the Institut de France, a group of five academies of learning. The château kept its French Renaissance style, which incorporates Gothic and classical elements, though the duke had added a series of rooms organized into art galleries, a reading room, and suites. The suites follow the 18th-century styles popular at the time, including rococo architecture, Louis XVI furniture, and Asian-inspired wallpaper. The rooms are further ornamented with rare manuscripts, decorative arts, and old master paintings by Raphael, Van Dyck, and Delacroix.