For centuries, horses have been an integral part of life at Chantilly whose surrounding forest served as a splendid hunting ground for nobility.The Great Stables, constructed in the early 18th century, form one of the most outstanding architectural achievements of the time and represents the power of the Bourbon-Condé family. Designed as an independent structure from the nearby Château – and significantly larger – it encompassed stables, kennels, courtyards, and manège. The monumental building was crowned in the center by the Pavillon du Dôme and richly decorated in floral, natural, and equestrian themes. Breaking with the French architectural tradition of relegating the stables to a facility to service the château, the creation of two separate yet equally exquisite sites at Chantilly is exceptional.
Today, the Stables continue to serve its initial purpose: it houses the Museum of the Horse, which is dedicated to the importance of horses and their relationship with man throughout history, and hosts delightful equestrian performances and demonstrations entirely staged by an in-house troupe. There are over 150 performed annually by the troupe of seven riders. The Great Stables is also the impressive backdrop for annual horse races held at the Chantilly tracks. The unique Museum, paired with the performances under the dome and a large public following of the races,showcases the breadth and vitality of the Domaine de Chantilly that – along with the surrounding area – remains a capital for horse enthusiasts to this day.