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Spanning 7,800 hectares, The Domaine de Chantilly lies inside one of the largest forested areas on the outskirts of Paris, the Trois Forêts (comprising the forests of Chantilly, Halatte and Ermenonville).
The château houses the Musée Condé, which was the second museum to display paintings from before 1850 in France after the Louvre.
In 1830, the Duke of Aumale, aged eight, inherited the Domaine de Chantilly and a huge fortune from his godfather, Louis-Henri-Joseph de Bourbon, the last Prince of Condé. The first château on the estate was destroyed during the French Revolution. After returning from exile in England, the duke decided to build a new château between 1875 and 1885 to house his precious art collection, employing the architect Honoré Daumet.
With no direct living descendants and with ties to the Institut de France as a member of the French Academy (l’Académie française), the Academy of Fine Art (l’Académie des beaux-arts) and the Academy of Moral and Political Science (Académie des Sciences morales et politiques), the duke bequeathed the Domaine de Chantilly and his precious art collection to the Institut de France in 1886. His one condition was that after his death, he wanted the Musée Condé to be opened to the public, with its layout preserved and with no possibility of loaning any work from the collection.
The Park is a unique testimony to the history of the French Garden. It contains the Grand Canal, a waterfall, and French flowerbeds created by André Le Nôtre. It also houses the Anglo-Chinese garden and the Hameau folly, with its five houses built for the Prince of Condé in 1775, and with a design reminiscent of the romantic curves of English gardens.
The largest stables in Europe, the Great Stables are a real 18th century architectural masterpiece. Since summer 2012, they have housed the Musée Vivant du Cheval, famous for its two annual equestrian shows, its art and its haute-école training.