Sunday, 22 May 2011

Chantilly

My parents were in town for a few days last week. As is often the case when they're here we embarked on a more ambitious outing than the usual trot to one of the local parks. We went to Chantilly, a small town about 40kms north of Paris, easily accessible from Paris by trains leaving from the Gard du Nord. Chantilly has several attractions, the Château de Chantilly, the Musée Vivant du Cheval (the Living Museum of the Horse) and the Chantilly racecourse. The Chateau was built in the mid 16C but later part of it was destroyed in the French revolution and rebuilt in 1870.

The Musée Vivant du Cheval is housed in enormous stables built in 1790. The 186 metre long building can accomodate up to 240 horses and 500 hounds! Legend says that the Prince of Condé, who inherited the Château in 1632 requested the building of the stables, as he believed he would be reincarnated as a horse.

To get to the Museum from Chantilly station involves walking through a bit of forest, not unlike the Bois de Boulogne but without the hum of Parisian traffic in the background.
You can then walk 'as the crow flies' along the horse track, a vivid green plush strip of grass. One of the healthiest expanses of grass I have ever seen in this country.
At the end of this long strip of grass is the Musée Vivant du Cheval, decorated with...of course...horses.
The stone is a lovely soft butter coloured limestone.
As luck (a miracle) would have it, we arrived just in time for a horse show. 14h30 incase you're interested. The show takes place inside.
The horses are beautiful.
And the riders, very skilful, manoeuvring round a tiny arena with a 13metre diameter.
This horse wasn't in the show, isn't he handsome?
And this one has a beautiful eye...
...and nose
More photos of Chantilly can be seen here (thumbnails) and here (slideshow)



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