Thirty-Six-Hour Transit: Chantilly (Paris), France

The Château de Chantilly,  about 30 minutes north of Charles de Gaulle Airport

By Steve Owad-Jones

Transiting through Charles de Gaulle Airport is stressful enough without an expensive overnight in Paris. Instead, stay in the delightful, historic town of Chantilly, located only 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the airport. A Blacklane limo transfer can seamlessly whisk you away, and barely 30 minutes later you will find yourself in the town. For hardier souls, a regular taxi or Uber will do the same.

The studio rental accommodation at Le Petit Hameau de Chantilly may possess a lackluster entry, but the small, classic European layout is perfectly formed. Charmingly decorated with every mod-con and quality bedding, it is ideally situated just off rue du Connétable. Another option is the splurge-worthy Auberge du Jeu de Paume, which is perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail.

The next day, start your morning at one of the superb patisseries nearby. At the end of the street is the Château precinct, commencing with the magnificent Great Stables built in 1719 and arguably the only “7-star stable” in the world, which is often mistaken for the château itself (try to include an equestrian show.)

The Château de Chantilly appears resplendent across the moat, bathed in the crisp morning light. Tickets include both the château and the stables, and going midweek in the winter, you will have the place largely to yourselves.

The château has a long and checkered history; the undoubted highlight was the art collection, bequeathed with the building to the nation by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, on the proviso that the collection could neither be loaned, nor rehung. The resulting high-density display is reminiscent of the Uffizi, but the ultimate treasures are in a side gallery: three priceless Raphael paintings, including The Three Graces.

The excellent bistro housed in the original kitchens of the château provides a light, but exquisitely flavored lunch not to be missed! Enjoy a superb dinner at Le Vertugadin before a great night’s rest and an Uber back to CDG for your flight home.

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