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Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Saint-Jean-sur-Riche...
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Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Hey there :).

I plan on doing a trip to Paris next February. I'll be doing a day at Château de Versailles and I'd like to visit another château as well and I'm hesitating between Château de Chantilly and Château de Fontainebleau. What are the major differences between the two? Which one would you recommend? Thank you!

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Other than the name 'chateau', they are chalk and cheese.

Chantilly is a privately-held manor home, completely reconstructed in the 18th century, after the ancestral home was destroyed in the Revolution. The owner who rebuilt amassed a simply mind-blowing art collection, and the chateau and the stables are well worth a visit.

Fontainebleau was a royal hunting lodge, and later an official palace -- it is several-fold larger than Chantilly, and its magnificent corridors have less art, but considerably more history, than Chantilly.

They're both reasonably easy to reach via public transportation -- but it all depends on your taste as two which you might want to see.

Check the individual websites (both have English pages) and compare them.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Sort of like saying do you prefer Rome or Paris. I think it's really a matter of personal taste. Although some may prefer one to the other, one isn't any better than the other. It depends on your interest. I've been to both and liked both. Have you read up on them to see what they have to offer? If not check the official websites for each:

www.musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr/spip.php…

http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/en/

I think a generalization that could be said, and this is my opinion, is that Chantilly is more fairytale looking whereas Fontainebleau has more of a stately appearance. So if fairytale and romantic is what you are looking for then maybe Chantilly is it. If history and historical importance are more important then Fontainebleau might be it. Perhaps if you've already seen Versailles then Fontainebleau might be a bit more of the same.

Not to throw a monkey wrench into the works but had you also considered the châteaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte or Pierrefonds?

http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/index.php

www.pierrefonds.monuments-nationaux.fr/

pierrefonds-tourisme.net/ot/Bienvenue.html

Edited: 27 December 2011, 23:01
Saint-Jean-sur-Riche...
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3. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

I've already check both websites, read comments about both places and I really can't make my mind. I really love art (I'm studying graphic design) and romanticism but I'm planning on seeing A LOT of art museums in Paris. Is it the art collection the most interesting thing about Chantilly? Ce qui m'intéresse surtout, en fait, c'est la «beauté» des palais, de visiter de beaux appartements et de voir de beaux paysages. Désolée, ça peut sembler superficiel dit comme ça mais j'arrive pas à trouver une autre façon de l'exprimer…

I'm going to visit Versailles too but probably a couple of weeks AFTER the first château (I'll be in Geneva meanwhile).

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

If you were to ask 100 people, you'd get 100 answers.

They really aren't comparable -- I take visitors to both on a regular basis (as does French_Mystique, I'm sure), and everyone enjoys both.

Victoria, Canada
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5. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Well for what is displayed at Chantilly, the painting collection there is considered only second to what you will see at the Louvre,, but of course with the bonus of never being half as crowded as the Louvre!

I enjoyed my visits to both, but have to give the slight nod to Fontainebleau as just being a touch easier to get to,, the bus from the train station at Fontainebleau seems to run more frequently then the one from the train station at Chantilly. It is walkable to Chantilly, through a lovely forest path, but in the winter I am thinking this would not be a good option.

Pantin
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6. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Do you want a similar style château or something completely different? Versailles is all frilly so maybe you should see a more medieval style afterwards. On the Pierrefonds forum there is an absolutely incredible report about the château there. Note: you need to rent a car to go there.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

Actually, you don't need a car to get to Pierrefonds. You just take the train from Paris to Compiègne and take a bus from there to Pierrefonds. I just answered a question about this the other day so I'll copy and paste my response from that thread.

"There is plenty of regular train service between Paris and Compiègne and you can get the schedules and prices at the website www.voyages-sncf.com.

You'll need to look at the local bus transport website to figure out the schedule of bus routes between Compiègne and Pierrefonds. It is line 27 and it does make a stop at the train station in Compiègne. Here is the bus website:

http://www.oise-mobilite.fr/

The website only shows times about a month in advance but you can at least get an idea of their frequency. As you've noticed there are only two direct buses in the morning (8:35AM and 11:30AM) between these two places.

I found two buses returning in the afternoon at 2:07PM and 4:49PM (the earlier bus requires a change). You can play around with the site and see if you can find any better alternatives but I'm pretty sure that's it. Your other option would be to take a taxi. You can get info about private transport at the link below:

pierrefonds-tourisme.net/ot/transports.html

It looks like your best option is to get to Compiègne in time for the 11:30AM bus and then take the 4:49PM bus back to Compiègne. That should allow you plenty of time for a visit to the château and to walk around town and grab a quick bite to eat."

The other alternative would be to rent a bike and ride on the bike trail through the forest between Compiègne and Pierrefonds.

Bolton, United...
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8. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

The bonus for me at Chantilly was the stables with the dressage show.

Otherwise as people say. Apples and oranges.

Paris, France
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9. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

The "live horse museum" in Chantilly is indeed remarkable.

California
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10. Re: Château - Chantilly or Fontainebleau ?

I would go back to Chantilly just to see again the impressive library. There's a magnificant Book of Hours kept under glass, with one page turned daily.