Is Château de Chantilly better than Versailles?

chateau du chantilly mytravelscrapbook

Is Chantilly France’s Prettiest Château? Is romantic Château de Chantilly better than Versailles? There is no doubt that Versailles is an incredible castle full of history, lavish interiors and spectacular gardens. Yet is it worth the pushing and shoving of the hundreds of tourists who rush to see the Sun God’s palace? If you are looking for a quieter alternative, close to Paris look no further than the wonderful Chateau de Chantilly.

To prove just how pretty Château de Chantilly is here is a photographic guide to this lovely palace. I have added plenty of photos to help convince you to visit Chantilly. Also, just to help you imagine how lovely you would look against such gorgeous backgrounds. This is a great place to explore and have a fairy tale photoshoot, without the crowds! You will struggle to narrow down which photos to post on Instagram!

Getting here

The palace of Chantilly is located just a train ride away to the north of Paris. From Gare du Nord it is just 25 minutes on the TER and costs around 6 euros (2018). Alex and I left the busy city and vast suburbs of the French capital behind us. What awaited us was a wonderfully leafy town full of delicious fresh country air. The walk from the train station to the Château took around 20 minutes through shady woods and across green fields. I believe there is a bus but the walk itself was so pleasant and the weather was sunny therefore we walked.

Click on the link to see more information about getting around Paris and more helpful tips about visiting Paris for the first time.

Buying Tickets

Upon arrival, we debated whether to purchase tickets for the whole site or just for the gardens. Annoyingly you cannot buy just the castle and grounds, you must purchase the ticket for the different exhibitions and for the stables (as vegans though we had no wish to visit or to support this part of the site). We brought the all-inclusive ticket as I did want to see what was inside the floating castle.

You can purchase tickets, valid for one year, at this link here.

No Tourists!

A friendly guard checked our tickets and we entered the green lungs of the park. Considering its proximity to Paris there was barely anyone there. We only saw a couple of other tourists in the far distance. This was a welcome change to the hordes of tourists in the capital.

Our first stop was the beautiful English garden.

The English Garden

English Garden, Château du Chantilly, Versailles, Instagram, Photoshoot, Island of Love

I fell in love with the English Garden at Chantilly. The creators stated this part of the grounds as “ideal for a romantic stroll”. I admired the wildness of the gardens dotted with pretty features. There are many beautiful things to take photos of. There are plenty of romantic elements to snap such the temple of Venus at the side of one of the many lakes. The folly was built at the beginning of the 19th century.

Temple of Venus Chantilly France English Gardens

Whilst there were few human tourists there were many other creatures who also obviously enjoyed spending time here as herons flew overhead, ducks waddled past and dragonflies played around the water lilies. Make sure you snap a few pictures of the wildlife in the park.

Heron Chantilly France Paris Day Trip Wildlife English Garden

My favourite part of the English gardens was the Island of Love. This wonderfully named island used to host garden parties. The Princes of Conde,who lived at Chantilly would invite the gentry during the summer to enjoy the splendour of the island of love. You must take a photo (or several dozen…) on the Island of Love.

Island of Love, Chantilly, Chateau, English Gardens

At the end of the island, Eros, the God of Love watches over its visitors from under a decorative canopy.

Eros, Island of Love, Chantilly, France, Paris, English Gardens

The English Gardens was probably the most photogenic spot asides from the castle itself from within the grounds, you cannot miss this part of the gardens in Chantilly.

The large La Notre Flowerbed

We left the romantic English garden behind us and entered a much more formal part of the grounds; the large La Notre Flowerbed. The neat geometrical designs were envisioned by Andre La Notre, a renowned French landscape architect. La Notre later designed the gardens for Versailles, yet the grand canal at Chantilly is indeed longer by 600m than that at Versailles.

The contrast between the English garden which emphasised untamed nature is stark when looking at this part of Chantilly which emphasises strict balance and harmony. Man can tame nature, this garden claims. Capture a shot of yourself placed along one of the long trees lined avenue. Embrace your inner OCD as you marvel at the symmetry.

Paris, La Notre Flowerbed, Chantilly, France, pretty, instagram

La Notre was immensely proud of not only the garden design but of the engineering he created at Chantilly. The fountains were able to produce 5m high sprouts of water, which was unheard of at the time. Indeed, water features a great deal at Chantilly. I believe that is what makes Chantilly so beautiful. the fact that the Château appears to be floating on water. Yet we will save that photo until last. Now it is time to escape the 30-degree heat and enter the cool rooms of the castle.

Château du Chantilly

The interior of Chantilly is lovely. Arguably less impressive than that of Versailles, yet the main draw is that you may wonder at your own pace. There are no crowds to battle through and you may linger for as long as you desire. This also makes it much easier to get those Instagram worthy photos.

As soon as you enter the Château you are treated with the view of a marvellous staircase. It is wonderfully ornate and decorative. Just make sure you adhere to the signs begging visitors not to touch it in order to preserve it. Gracefully walk up the steps and pretend you are a princess about to enter a grand ball.

staircase Chantilly grand chateau, paris, france

There are many wonderful things to take photos of inside the castle. In terms of furniture and decorations, there were many beautifully ornate clocks in the different rooms.

clock chantilly pretty chateau paris france

Of course, there were incredible chandeliers on the ceilings and incredible frescos adorned the walls. Lovely views over the garden were also provided through the many windows.

I also particularly liked the library, known as the Reading Room. I love reading and there is something wonderful about libraries. Libraries are temples which protect and worship books, in my opinion. The Duke of Aumale thought the same and was a self-proclaimed bibliophile. The reading room was Duke Aumale’s favourite room and as an enlightened man helped Chantilly obtain this rare book collection. The wooden architecture gives the room a warm and intimate feel. It is one of the more functional rooms in the castle. I thought the reading room was beautiful.

Reading Room, Library, Chantilly, Chateau, Paris, France

Another room I particularly liked was the gallery of the battles. Although against war, the detail of the individual battles was incredible. There were layouts of the towns and intricate maps. Furthermore, I felt that this room was a much quieter version of Versailles hall of mirrors.

the grand state apartments in Chateau du Chantilly

After admiring the grand state apartments, we ventured into the galleries.

The Galleries

The galleries were equally as impressive. There was a great wooden room followed by a room with curious looking stain glass windows. The Psyche Gallery features 44 stained glass windows in grisaille depicting the story of Psyche.

story of psyche stainglass window Chateau du Chantilly

Slightly overwhelmed with all the ornate rooms and art we almost forgot to look up and admire the ceilings.

ceiling chateau du chantilly

After we had absorbed all the wonderful art we could we ventured back outside into the gardens.


The Woods and the little Hamlet

After admiring the castle, we decided to venture into the wooded part of the park. The grounds are vast. I had no idea how many beautiful things there were to see over such a wide area! We walked along another lovely lake, completely by ourselves.  Alex and I then entered into the woods. We lost ourselves amongst the leafy giants. We did actually get lost. It was wonderful to be lost. It was joyous to be amongst nature and away from the tourists of Paris.

After leaving the shaded woods we came across a wonderful little hamlet of sweet cottages. We had arrived at what would become the inspiration for Marie Antoinette’s hamlet at Versailles.

hamlet, Chantilly, Chateau, Hameau
Hameau, Chantilly, Chateau, Paris, Day Trip, Watermill

Whilst undeniably cute, and of course very picturesque, these little hamlets make me uneasy. They truly show how ignorant the gentry were of the true living standards of the poor and mock their lifestyles with these idyllic fake villages.

hamlet chantilly

The Anglo Japanese garden

Probably my least favourite garden as it seemed neither Asian nor Anglo. In fact, we found thistles which I believe the Scottish would be horrified to discover.


Our feet were starting to ache at this point so maybe we were simply weary. Gos, this place was huge! I was expecting a small park, in fact we had even packed a picnic blanket and a book as I did not believe there would be much to see. How wrong I was!

Save the best till last – the beautiful exterior of the Château

Now it was late afternoon and the castle was bathed in glorious golden light. It was time to take a photograph (or many…sorry Alex!) of the stunning reflection of Château du Chantilly. All I can say is this is one of the most beautiful palaces I have ever been to!


Have you ever seen a floating palace? I have been at only one more.

See another spectacular floating castle in Germany in this blog post here.

Is Château de Chantilly better than Versailles?

Better in terms that it is less busy yes. They are hard to compare, however. Versailles is grand on an epic scale and historically incredibly important even if it is younger than Chantilly. Yet if you are looking for a peaceful day out I would recommend Chantilly. It is full of beautiful spots to discover and of course take pictures of.

chateau du chantilly mytravelscrapbook

That was our amazing day at Chantilly. I hope these photos have inspired you to visit during a trip to Paris. The Château du Chantilly is stunning and wonderfully free of tourists. Have a great time exploring the grounds and the palace. I hope you enjoy taking photos here as much as I did.

Would you like to visit Chateau de Chantilly? If you have been to both Versailles and Chantilly which did you prefer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Is Château de Chantilly France\'s prettiest Château? Is Chantilly better than the palace of Versailles? Click here to find out what a beautiful castle Chantilly is! Expect romantic strolls on the island of love, a gorgeous library and a fantastic floating palace on a lake. Chantilly is a wonderful day trip from Paris and a great alternative to the palace of Versailles. #chantilly #daytrip #Château

11 Replies to “Is Château de Chantilly better than Versailles?”

  1. Can’t believe there weren’t many tourists there. That’s great.

  2. While most people always talk and visit just Versailles, I feel that Château de Chantilly is a real hidden gem, Anna. I can’t decide which one is better as I haven’t been to any of them, but I’d love to visit them both!

  3. Will be in Paris in October. It’s just 25 minutes by train from Paris!!!!

  4. I never knew that there is more beautiful palace other than Versailles in France. Chantilly is really very beautiful with stunning natural landscapes surrounding it. Thanks for sharing hidden gem.

  5. Every time I think I know about all the cool stuff near Paris, I see a post like this one! What a gorgeous place to explore! The gardens and such are stunning, but that LIBRARY – oh my gosh. I’m counting down the days till we can go back to France, and this is on the list for sure!!

  6. We’ve visited many castles in France but not this one (yet). It’s good to know that it’s not crowded at all. Next time we travel to the région parisienne, we’ll stop at the Château de Chantilly! Thanks for sharing this post!

  7. What a beautiful place!! I love places that the tourists haven’t discovered yet. I’m sure it’s hard to compare to Versailles becuase they are two totally different places, but Chantilly looks worth the time!

  8. When I was living in London I always wanted to hop on the Eurostar and head to France just to visit Versailles, but I never got around to it. Now, it seems that there’s another place I want to visit equally, if not more, the Château de Chantilly. Thanks for enlightening me about this stunning floating palace, I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m in Paris.

  9. I haven’t been to either, but Château de Chantilly looks absolutely amazing! That is one fantastic picture!
    It makes me so mad when you can’t just buy a basic ticket to go in and take some cool pictures. I recently had that happen in Charlotteville, VA. The tours were mostly all sold out as soon as they opened, too. I was not prepared for that.
    Glad you had such an awesome time.

  10. I loved your comment that “Libraries are temples which protect and worship books”. You’ve put it most succinctly – I love the library at the Chateau and hope to visit it one day. Thanks for your outstanding blog.

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