Yet the gardens have also become the most famous in world and
designed by Andre Le Notre there are around 1,300 fountains, jets, waterfalls, a vast
amount of sculptures and statues, water parterres, and of course the formal gardens to
explore. The fountains actually use water pumped from the River
Seine and on a weekend from April until September they hold fountain shows for
Another show that is held at the Chateau de Versailles at set times is the Académie du Spectacle Equestre and you can
also visit the restored 17th century royal stables, which is home to these beautiful
horses that are the stars of the show with their riders.
Another beautiful castle in France is The Chateau
de Chantilly, which can be located in one of the largest forests near Paris and this
vast and amazing estate covers around 7,800 hectares, and yet is no where near as well
known as the Chateau Versailles.
Anyone who has enjoyed going round The Louvre,
which has got to be the most famous museum in Paris, will love the museum of historical
paintings at Chateau Chantilly, as it is one of the finest museums
in France and the only one except The Louvre that has 3 Raphael paintings.
Inside Chateau de Chantilly is the Conde
Museum that holds a book room containing about 30,000 volumes, including 1,500
manuscripts and 11,500 printed books, which is the most important collection in
France. This castle also contains medieval manuscripts with one very rare specimen
dating from the11th century called 'Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry' which is the
Now if you love the gardens at the Chateau de Versailles, you will also love the gardens at Chateau de Chantilly that were
also designed by Andre Le Notre and has the largest expanse of water with the Grand Canal
being approximately 2.5 kilometres long. Another garden that Andre designed is at
the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte.
At the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte you can hire an electric golf car to get around the grounds
or even take a trip on the canal and this French castle has been exceedingly well restored
with a horse driven carriage museum, which houses a unique collection of 18th and 19th
century carriages, plus a dedicated Andre Le Notre exhibition in the vaulted cellars.
They even hold candlelight visits, activities for children such as Easter egg hunts, and
from March through to October each year there is a fountain show held twice a month, which
is a spectacular sight, especially when you care to consider that the fountains are still
gravity fed the same way as they were in the 17th century!
Whatever French castle you choose to visit, you will not be disappointed and other stately
homes around Paris that all have something different to offer include the Royal Chateau de Fontainebleau with a
horse-drawn carriage that will provide a tour of the estate where you can feed the carp in
the lake and the Chateau de Sceaux where they
hold classical music festivals and outdoor operas in the summer.
The Chateau de Compiegne has three different
museums including the museum of the second
empire and the museum of transport,
which shows exhibits of past road travel from bicycles right through to the first electric
and steam engine vehicles.
The Chateau de Thoiry is a great day out for
all the family, which is home to what was the very first wild animal safari park in Europe
and also has the only interactive maze in the world! You can have a tour of the
castle by guides in period costumes and see the unique solar calendar in the garden where
during the solstice the Chateau itself becomes transparent. Quite a phenomenal
experience for a fun packed day out!
So instead of dragging your children around the city, why not take a trip out to one of
these incredible architectural wonders and have a day to remember with a picnic in the
But make sure you pick a dry day that is not too scorching in the sun and do remember that
most of these chateaux and castles close at least one day a week, normally on a Monday or