The majestic Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) at Château de Chantilly were designed by French architect Jean Aubert in 1719 for the eccentric horse lover Prince Louis-Henri de Bourbon. They are a masterpiece of neo-classical architecture and are still the largest stables in Europe, with stalls for 250 horses as well as kenneling for dogs. The stables have a circular manège (riding school) where equestrian shows are held daily and are also home to the revamped Musée Vivant du Cheval (Living Museum of the Horse), which re-opened in 2013 and is one of the few museums in the world dedicated entirely to horses. Displays examine the historical relationship between man and horse through times of war and peace and are crammed with equine portraits and sculptures, gaily painted carriages, carousel horses and racing trophies – but the highlight of any visit is the chance to get up close and personal with several rare breeds of horses and ponies.
Located at 60500 Chantilly. Open November-March, Wednesday-Monday from 10:30am-5pm, and from April-October, daily from 10am-6pm. Admission costs adults €16, while concessions are €9.50 and include an audio guide and dressage show. Chantilly is 20 minutes from central Paris by train from the Gare du Nord.