A domain that is central to History
Shaped from the Middle Ages to the 19th century by its various owners, the history of the Domain of Chantilly is closely intertwined with the History of France.
The Middle Ages
The château was originally a fortified building constructed on a pile of rock in the marshlands of the Nonette river valley, controlling the road from Paris to Senlis.
The Le BOUTEILLER family were the first lords of Chantilly. The Hundred Years war devastated the region. The fortified château was pillaged during the peasant uprisings known as the Jacqueries in 1358.
The d’ORGEMONT family acquired the domain in 1386 and had a veritable fortress built there.
In 1484, Guillaume de MONTMORENCY inherited the domain.
During the Renaissance
Constable Anne de Montmorency, companion-in-arms to François I, owned the château de Chantilly during the Renaissance.
Following the Italian Wars, during which the latter admired numerous palaces, he decided to build a château for summer residence and recreation, in the style of the French Renaissance, which was an adaptation of the Italian Renaissance style.
A Classical Era
Henri II de Montmorency was beheaded at the start of the 17th century for having rebelled against Richelieu, Louis XIII's minister. Following this, in 1632, the château was confiscated by the King. In 1643, it was returned to Charlotte de Montmorency, wife of Henri II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé.
Louis II de Bourbon, their son and a cousin of the King, known as "the Grand Condé", organised a courtly life in Chantilly that was as vibrant as that of Versailles, inviting all the greatest artists of his time. This is how Le Nôtre came to design the sumptuous "French style" gardens here.
The Enlightenment (18th century)
1719: Louis-Henri, Duke of Bourbon, had his architect Jean Aubert design a new classical building on the foundations of the old fortified Château, as well as the Great Stables. The architect also designed part of the urban planning for the town of Chantilly.
After 1740: Louis-Joseph, Prince of Condé, continued his father's work: construction of the Hamlet, the theatre (now gone), the Jeu de Paume and the château d’Enghien.
During the Revolution
1793: the domain was dismantled via the sale of land and purchase of the château by the Bande Noire, a syndicate of speculators active in the wake of the Revolution, in order to demolish the buildings and sell the stones. In fact they only demolished the "Grand Château".
1804: the young Duke of Enghien was executed by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Bourbon-Condé lineage ended on his death.
The 19th century
1830: as the Duke of Bourbon had lost his son, the Duke of Enghien, he chose his grand-nephew, Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-1897) and son of King Louis-Philippe as his heir.
1875: the Duke of Aumale decided to rebuild the "Grand Château" to house his collections and called on the architect Honoré Daumet to do this.
1886: As he had no heirs (his two sons died young), the Duke of Aumale left his entire domain to the Institut de France.
17 April 1898: The domain opened its doors to the public on under the name of the "Condé museum".