The Château de Chantilly is the product of numerous modifications carried out over the centuries by major architects working for illustrious owners. Several generations of princes made the Domain a bastion of aristocracy that was relatively independent of the monarchy, and therefore somewhat protected. Using the former medieval castle as a foundation, these occupants gradually built a structure to house sumptuous living quarters, with each generation saving the building from deterioration. Today, it stands as an exceptional example of 19th century architecture (the period during which it underwent its most recent modifications), a movement inspired by various trends, including the Renaissance, as beautifully illustrated by the châteaus at Fontainebleau and Ecouen.
The various rooms in the Château de Chantilly house one of France’s largest collections of French and Italian paintings as well as rare books and manuscripts : works by Raphael, Clouet, Poussin, Watteau, Ingres, Géricault, Delacroix, Corot and the famous illuminated manuscript of the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry. A tour of the museum’s collections is also an opportunity to visit the private living quarters of princes, with their galleries, rooms and masterpieces of decorative art.
The Condé Museum’s collection consists of 15,000 pieces, including the following:
- 830 paintings
- 5,000 drawings and engravings
- 1,700 old photographs
- 250 sculptures
The library and archives contain 158,000 documents, including the following:
- 2,000 manuscripts
- 10,500 rare and precious printed books
- 3,000 portfolios or registers of old archives
- historical correspondence (80,000 letters)
- old charts and maps (10,000 documents)