After a 10-plus hour flight from San Francisco, I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport and was starving for some fresh, clean air and food, so headed 30 minutes away to dreamy Chantilly, France. It’s a place rich in history that’s surrounded by a forest that conjures up thoughts of medieval fantasy and also home to France’s biggest racehorse-training community. And oui, it’s where the name Chantilly cream and Chantilly lace derive from.
Chantilly is ideal for a day trip from nearby Paris or an overnight stay at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume – a Relais & Châteaux property and home to two restaurants by Chef Arnaud Faye. In the property, you’ll find his Two Michelin-Starred La Table du Connétable and the more casual, but still elegant Jardin d’hiver where I enjoyed lunch.
Before arriving at the hotel, I stopped to wander through the forest of Chantilly and even without the leaves, the trees and surroundings were majestic.
Whoever said fairy tales don’t exist hasn’t visited Chantilly…or France for that matter.
Chantilly is know for its connection to the equestrian and horse community and here, you’ll find the famous Chantilly Racecourse, the Great Stables at Domaine de Chantilly and The Living Museum of the Horse (Musée Vivant du Cheval).
When you enter the town, the Château de Chantilly is awaiting your arrival so have your cameras ready. This historic 19th century castle also houses the second largest collection of oil paintings after Le Louvre.
Entrance of the Auberge du Jeu de Paume
You’ll find horse memorabilia all around town, including at the Bar at the Jardin d’Hiver
Just after a long flight, a cool glass of Champagne was a wonderful welcome to France.
During lunch at Le Jardin d’Hiver, chef had an admiring young fan. I loved the openness of the dining space and especially at lunch, all the natural light from the windows from the garden light up the room.
Started with this Torteau émietté et avocet, fine gelée au radio rose (Crumbled crab and avocado with pink radish jelly)
I continued on with Rosé…
Another starter included this Tronçon de saumon fumé maison, pomme de terre àla moutarde ( Slabs of homemade smoked salmon and potato with mustard)
Enjoyed a courtyard view while dining at Le Jardin d’Hiver
Dorade en croûte de pain, tombée de tétragone et piquillos ( Sea bream in a crust of bread with Zealand spinach and piquillo peppers)
Saint Jacques poêlée, gnocchi à la pistache, roquette et parmesan (Pan fried scallops, pistachio gnocchi, arugula and Parmesan cheese)
Tarte Chocolate, caramel aux cacahuètes (Chocolate tart with peanuts, caramel and gold leaf)
Chantilly is also home to the Concours d’Elegance auto show which will celebrate its third year on September 3-4.
After a lovely afternoon in Chantilly, it’s time to head on to Paris…
Auberge du Jeu de Paume
Address: 4 Rue du Connétable, 60500 Chantilly
Phone: 03 44 65 50 00