The racecourse at Chantilly is one of the most famous in France. It must certainly have the most beautiful surroundings! The racecourse was created in 1834.
Throughout the summer there are various prestigious and local races going on here, check out their website for uptodate information.
Chantilly is (for those not "in the know") one of France's (and the world's) premier horse racing venues.
It is also an equestrian centre generally - the Grandes Ecuries form part of the Chateau.
The course is spectacular, with the horses running past both buildings on their way to the finishing straight.
I chose the meeting for the €400,000 Prix Jean Prat group 1 race. The card also had two group 3 races with prize money of €80,000 each.
Atmosphere is quite different to a British or Irish course, as you'd expect. The betting system is like the British Tote.
One difference is the relative lack of food & drink outlets. Just one restaurant and one bar, plus a couple of ice cream kiosks. If you want a sandwich or a burger, bring your own! A positive outcome of that is that you're not plagued by drunks as you would expect at a British course.
Entry was only €4. It's more for a grand prix event, but less for a mid week meeting. Parking was €2.50 (often free in Britain).
Minimum bet is €2. I left my luck (or judgment) at home, and stopped betting after the hot favourite ran like a donkey in the big race.
Equipment: Umbrella - you never know!
Sunscreen - wish I had...
Paris Turf (the French horse racing newspaper) for guidance...
A few € to chuck away...
A sandwich & bottle of wine unless you want a restaurant lunch.
This is the center for pure-blood (racehorse) training in France. It is where the first dirt track was built and has heavily attended week-end races in mid-June. It is the training and stabling area for over 3,000 race horses and 1,000 apprentice training riders (called lads in both French and British parlance. boys in the US). There are miles of stables and fine riding areas in the Chantilly Forest. It seems likely that "ordinary" riding horses may be available. The track is just beyond the Grandes Ecuries.
Equipment: Lots of Money
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