Sure there are châteaux all over France. The Loire, Fontainebleau and that little old place called Versailles built for what’s-his-name. But if you’d like to go see a château that’s both interesting and digestible in one day, then the Château de Chantilly. The museum Conde, located inside the château de Chantilly, harbours a collection of 2,500 drawings and a library including 1,500 manuscripts.
Sure there are châteaux all over France. The Loire, Fontainebleau and that little old place called Versailles built for what’s-his-name. But if you’d like to go see a château that’s both interesting and digestible in one day, then the Château de Chantilly can’t be beaten. Built on a small island in the middle of a small pond, this "petit château" has everything that all those bigger ones got but with a lot more charm and a lot less camera-clicking tourists.
Once the home of the prestigious Condé family, the estate eventually passed down to the Duke of Aumale in the 19th century when the Condé line died out. A rather eccentric gent, as insanely rich noblemen tend to be, the Duke added a room here and there in order to house his rather substantial art and book collection. Before his death, the Duke bequeathed the château, along with the fabulous library and paintings, to the Institute of France so long as it stayed open to the public. So today, you can oggle at the proud Duke’s generosity: the second most important collection of paintings and drawings in France second only to the Louvre itself. All of the great European art schools are well represented from the Italian masters such as Angelico and Raphael to Van Dyck and Teniers of the Dutch movement and of course, no French collection would be complete without the classisicm of Poussin, Delacroix and Fouquet. Yum!
The Divento.com don't miss list: Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Three Graces by Raphael, Madonna of Loreto by Raphael, Portrait of Gaston of France by Anthony van Dyck, Mystic Marriage of St. Francis by Sassetta, The Massacre of the Innocents by Nicolas Poussin.