#856. Charming Chantilly

By Dallas Thomas | Travel Photography

May 10

Where to start about this small town about 30 minutes from Paris by train.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about this lovely medieval town. “Chantilly is a commune in the Oise department in the valley of the Nonette in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. Surrounded by Chantilly Forest, the town of 11,000 inhabitants falls within the metropolitan area of Paris. It lies 38.4 km north-northeast of the centre of Paris.

Intimately tied to the House of Montmorency in the 15th to 17th centuries, the Château de Chantilly was home to the princes of Condé, cousins of the kings of France, from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It now houses the Musée Condé. Chantilly is also known for its horse racing track, the Chantilly Racecourse, where prestigious races are held for the prix du Jockey Club and the prix de Diane.

Chantilly and the surrounding communities are home to the largest racehorse-training community in France.

Chantilly is also home to the Living Museum of the Horse, with stables built by the Princes of Condé.” Unfortunately, I have no shots of the interior of this magnificent building.

“It is considered one of the more important tourist destinations in the Paris area. Chantilly gave its name to Chantilly cream and to Chantilly lace.

The Wikipedia entry doesn’t do justice to the town. It is prescriptive not descriptive. Chantilly is charming, it didn’t feel touristy, which for us is always a bonus, and the buildings and surrounding areas are picturesque.

The gem of course is the Chateau itself and its interior.

The lack of crowds as encountered at other popular locations made shooting the interior of this historic Chateau relatively easy except for the light.

I find the ceiling in some of these old historic buildings utterly intriguing in their craftsmanship and I’m in awe of the workmanship and the decorative features.

Unfortunately, on the day of our visit the weather was far from ideal for photography with an overcast sky. We dined at the Chateau. The food was excellent and well priced given the location. The only problem we encountered was local transport from the GARE to the Chateau was non existent. This could change in warmer months. Overall a very worthwhile place to spend a few hours or a day out of Paris.

All shots were taken with Nikon Z7 and Zeiss Milvus 25/1.4.


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  • Leonard Norwitz says:

    Seriously lovely bits. Really and truly.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Lovely images, Dallas! I’ve been to Chantilly and you are reminding me of it’s overwhelming beauty. The overcast sky actually worked for you, especially with the two monotone images of the chateau exterior and surrounding landscape. It brings an attractive moodiness to the scene.
    With my photography I always want an overcast “soft box” sky as it lends a painterly feel to my images. Occasionally I’ve traveled to an area and have only had a severe clear sky to work with – something I really dread. The last time this happened (on Vancouver Island, BC) it also brought freezing temperatures and a frozen boat basin which had trapped the fishing boats. Needless to say, I got over my clear sky issue and used it to my advantage. You too have risen to the challenge of your dread of an overcast sky to produce a beautiful series of images!

    • Nancee, your extremely generous words are appreciated. Sometimes we just have to live with what weather we are dished up and make the best of it especially when travelling and have time constraints.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Lovely pics, Dallas, and (for Paris) a less-visited destination, interesting choice!
    I agree with Nancee, the sky just created an interesting mood!
    I can imagine a bright sun only for a “king-size” party in the garden, with all the period dresses and musicians playing Lully 😀

    • Thanks Pascal for your kind comments. On the day we were disappointed in the weather but in hindsight it worked out well for external shots.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    You’ve really nailed the art of photographing stained glass windows, Dallas – I don’t think I’ve ever seen any others as good as that.
    And I love the ceiling shots – especially the lapis one – blue is my favourite colour!-

    • Thanks Pete, shooting windows is something I like to do a lot, some work most don’t. Ceilings are another thing I love to shoot. Someone early on told me look behind and above when out shooting and I usually find a couple fo extras I would have otherwise has missed.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Looking behind was something I accidentally taught myself. Starting a new project to “study” light around sunset – in all sorts of places, instead of the traditional sunsets – I soon started finding opportunities to the east, the north, the south, and even above me.
        It became for me a whole new chapter in learning to “look” and to “see”. Because it works wherever you are and whenever you’re shooting.

        • Pete, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve got some of my best shots that way.Dallas

          • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

            I still wonder sometimes WHY I was left to stumble on that – to walk backwards onto it. Why aren’t things like that taught as part of the study of light, in art schools?
            On the other hand, one of the major attractions & benefits of groups like this is the willingness of more experienced photograpers to share their wisdom with the rest of the world. We”re really nice people, aren’t we?

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