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Majestic memory - ‘A Day at Château de Chantilly: The Estate and Gardens of the Duke of Aumale’

Dear readers, what is your most magical New Year celebration that you can recall? Despite the social distancing under the pandemic situation like now, I guess simply dressing up in the most amazing self, a glass of champagne and put on some chic music, there’s a way to make the New Year celebration in style and magical; yes of course, it will be even better to be in a glamourous crowd, invited by a French duke in his grand château, surrounded by grandeur, style, laughter and spectacular firework display, I guess that would be the best celebration that we ever dreamt of! Speaking of château, apart from my previous blog, it does retrieve my old memory about one of the French château that I adore the most, especially, after the recently published book landed to one of the bookstore in my city, the book titled ‘A Day at Château de Chantilly: The Estate and Gardens of the Duke of Aumale’; I instantly bought a copy after coming across it before the Thanksgiving day, and it became such a great gift to remind me of the time when I visited that spectacular château about 4 years ago! Which I have written a blog about it as well (as link below):

Published by Flammarion, and written by Adrien Goetz and Mathieu Deldicque, this handy copy has showcased some of the most beautiful pictures of this spectacular French castle, but there’s one thing that intrigues me a lot about this book, is the portrait of the life of Prince Henri d’Orleans, who is the Duke of Aumale and son of King Louis-Philippe, the passion he has on collecting old masters & contemporary paintings, objet d’art, lavish furniture with glamorous histories, illuminated manuscripts and precious rare books, of course, his dedication on rebuilt the château after being destroyed during the French Revolution, and later bequeathed it to the Institut de France, the ‘parliament of scholar’, which makes his effort and work much noteworthy. Looking at the picture of the young duke himself, he’s just undeniably dashing and charismatic, during the third republic, he would resemble the statue of the House of Montmorency, and greets visitors to Chantilly on the horseback with a raised sword, no wonder why the people of his day look up to him that much, even he decided not to run for the president after the fall of Napoleon III.

Of course, the legendary life of Duke of Aumale is indeed fascinating, so as his art de vivre and life of work, which makes Château de Chantilly became one of the most valuable national treasure in France today with the valuable art and collectables in there, which I have mentioned from my previous blog about the castle, also, as the second largest Museum after the Louvre; this new book has brought back so much wonderful memories about my visit there, even it’s been years ago and the details of what I saw and the scene in my head are getting a bit vague, but going through each page of the book, it did help to refresh my memory, from passing through the private apartment of the duke, to the iconic ‘fleur de Lis’ iron staircase, on one hand it’s very fairytale-like, but on the other, it just feels like the visit only happened a couple of weeks ago. I guess the only regret I had, is that I didn’t visit the Museum of the Horse when I was there, which makes Chantilly is famous for and got a name as ‘the French capital of the horse’. Perhaps, I should simply use my own imagination, to visualize the Duke when he’s parading with his most heroic and glorious self, riding his gorgeous white horse and with his prince cape floating in the air, while I was watching him from far apart from the château just like what I did few years ago, to marvel his glory and elegance; now that is magical!

No matter what kind of magical celebration in your head now, I do wish you all, my dear readers, a marvelous New Year celebration, wherever you are!


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