Home of the French Derby and Oaks
Chantilly is home to the Prix du Jockey Club (Derby) and Prix de Diane Hermes (Oaks) both run in June each year. The racecourse has a tremendous setting on the edge of the town and adjacent the the Chateau. Entrance is only 8 Euros on either of these days, and reduces to only 4 Euros on any other raceday (Compare this to the UK - it costs £14 just to get into Sedgefield - unbelievable!). The area also is the main training centre for France & there is also a horse racing museum onsite too. Worth a detour on the way back or to Paris
A Day Trip or an Overnight?
The Chateau has two parts, the smaller one being part of the original. Across the way is another chateau to notice only, unless you are visiting a member of the Academy (which incidentally owns the grounds and the forest as well) who is residing in it.
"Real France is Less Than an Hour Away"
Chantilly is a town (10.2K pop.) situated in unspoiled countryside. As one passes the neighbohood of the great airport, the huddled apartment houses suddenly disappear. This is more noticeable by car (you are beyond the Ile-de-France), and you are only 45 km from Paris! A bus from the train station goes to the equally withdrawn Senlis (25 minutes, 10 km ).Take it! 3 km from the train station one gets out of the bus at the Porte St.-Denis a large structure next to the Grand Ecuries (Stables; See Sports Tip). This is the entry to the Chateau grounds. The chateau is another km of walking. Aside from the attractions on the grounds, Chantilly town itself has nothing to offer except for a mandatory rest stop to have a dessert : a Charlotte a la Chantilly with a demitasse. When we have been here (three times) we have scheduled the area as an overnight or two using the locality as a base of operations for trips into other nearby sites or as the last night before emplaning home. For this maneuver we prefer to stay in or near next-town Senlis (where the restaurants and accomodations are better).
"Out to the Chateau"
The easiest way is by bus, but you can walk. Either way you enter by the Porte St.-Denis a structure that you cannot miss by the Stables. It is still another walk to the chateau and there will be walking inside of it too, but the grounds are pleasant. It is a day outdoors for Parisians.