10 largest cities in France




Chantilly is a French commune located in the department of Oise, in the Hauts-de-France region. Located in the heart of the Chantilly forest, in the Nonette valley, it is at the center of an agglomeration of around 37,000 inhabitants. At the last census in 2017, the town had 10,863 inhabitants called Cantiliens.

Chantilly is known for its castle, which houses the collections of the Condé museum, and for its whipped cream. It is also recognized internationally for its equestrian activities: in addition to its racecourse, where two horse races are held, the Prix du Jockey Club and the Prix de Diane, the city and its surroundings are home to the largest training center in race horses from France.

Closely linked to the Montmorency family from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, then to the Condé family from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, Chantilly developed around its castle and its outbuildings. For a long time made up of a few hamlets scattered around its castle, it did not become a parish until 1692, and its town planning dates back only to the 18th century. At the start of the 19th century, it became a small pioneering industrial center, particularly in the production of porcelain and lace, but above all a privileged place of leisure and vacation for the aristocracy and the artistic community, as well as the place of residence. of an English community, then linked to the horse world.

Today, the municipality, located in the urban area of ​​Paris, sees 40% of its working population working in Île-de-France and does not present large companies on its territory. With its hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting its castle and its park, as well as its living horse museum, with its millions of visitors for its forest, the city presents itself as one of the most attractive tourist poles in the north of the Paris region.



No trace of human occupation dating from Prehistory or the Iron Age has been found on the territory of the municipality. The furniture of a tomb from the Roman period has been unearthed near the Nonette, as well as Gallo-Roman roads in the forest. Merovingian tombs, dating from the 7th century, were unearthed in the 17th and 19th centuries not far from the Faisanderie.

It is an act, around 1223, between Guy IV de Senlis and the prior of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent which marks the Terra cantiliaci for the first time. Guy IV de Senlis, the king's great bottler (function which will give the name to his family) is the founder of the seigneury of Chantilly. At the time, it was a rock in the middle of a marshy area, on the edge of the dioceses of Beauvais and Senlis. In 1227, the presence of a stronghold on the Cantilian site was reported. It was in 1282 that, for the first time, Chantilly designated its forest: an act of the Parliament of Paris indeed speaks of in tota foresta chantiliaco (throughout the Chantilly forest). Then, in 1358, we speak for the first time of a castle following its destruction reported during the Grande Jacquerie and its reconstruction by Pierre d'Orgemont, completed in 1394. During the Hundred Years War, the Anglo-Burgundians try to besiege the castle in 1421: Jacqueline de Paynel, widow of Pierre II d'Orgemont who died at the battle of Agincourt and Jean de Fayel, must deliver the fortress. In exchange, all the inhabitants of the castle are saved, but the surrounding villages are all ruined.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the surroundings of this castle consisted of small hamlets:
the Grandes Fontaines, located at the current location at the bottom of the rue des Fontaines;
the Petites Fontaines also called Normandie, the current lower part of the Quai de la Canardière and rue de la Machine;
the hamlet of Eagles, located at the level of the current equestrian ground which owes its name to the plowman who inhabited it at the end of the Middle Ages. It totally disappears during the wars of religion;
the hamlet of Quinquempoix, the largest of these hamlets and the closest to the castle.
It is from this time that this last village is used to accommodate the extension of the functions of the castle. It houses a chapel consecrated to Saint Germain, which dates back to 1219 and which disappeared in the 17th century with the extension of the castle park. Several houses were built in the hamlet of Quinquempoix to accommodate the prince's officers such as the Hôtel de Beauvais, built in 1539 which was used to house the manager of the hunts of the Constable Anne de Montmorency or the Hôtel de Quinquempoix, built around 1553, which served to house the Constable's squire.

Some time before, in 1515, Guillaume de Montmorency (father of the Constable) obtained, thanks to a papal bull, the right to have mass and all the sacraments celebrated in the chapel of the castle, which made it one of the first signs of autonomy of the castle and its inhabitants vis-à-vis the surrounding parishes.

The new parish in the modern era
In 1673, the Grand Condé built a new road to Gouvieux, which became the current rue du Constable. The land granted on either side of the street constitutes the city's first urban development embryo, in the form of inns, workshops for the castle's craftsmen and accommodation for the servants. This embryo is still shared between the parishes of Gouvieux of the diocese of Beauvais and of Saint-Léonard of the diocese of Senlis.

The Grand Condé expresses the wish in his will to create a parish church not far from the castle. Henri Jules de Bourbon-Condé fulfilled his father's wish in 1692 by having the Notre-Dame church built and by creating a parish dependent on the bishop of Senlis, by dismembering the two neighboring parishes. Chantilly then takes its true autonomy. His grandson, Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé, is the true founder of the city, the foreground of which he has drawn. It defines a reasoned town planning centered on the road of Gouvieux become Grande Rue. After the start of the construction of the Grandes Écuries in 1721, the prince created on December 12, 1727 at their end a housing estate south of the street: the current officers' houses. He sells lots of land to his officers (that is to say the holders of offices or jobs at the House of the Condés) with the obligation for them to respect identical architectural standards on the side of the lawn. These standards as well as the layout of the facades are defined by Jean Aubert, architect of the Grandes Écuries. These were built between 1730 and 1733. From 1723, the end of the Grande Rue was marked by the installation of the Hospice de la Charité.


In the second half of the eighteenth century, several economic activities were still developed at the initiative of the princes: lace, born at the end of the seventeenth century but then in full expansion, the porcelain factory founded in 1726 and installed in the current rue de la Machine in 1730. Industrial buildings were built in the 1780s at the end of the Grand Canal to take advantage of the waterfall.

The beginnings of the commune of Chantilly
Under the French Revolution, Chantilly became a municipality, taking over the boundaries of the parish. The first mayor was then the estate manager, André-Joseph Antheaume de Surval, and the rest of the municipal council was recruited from among the officers of the castle. The Condés were among the first to flee abroad, a few days after the storming of the Bastille on July 17, 1789. The estate was placed under sequestration on June 13, 1792 in application of the law on emigrants and sold in lots38. A first part was sold between 1793 and 1795: the old vegetable garden, the garden of the waterfalls, the last available land along the current rue du Constable and around the current small lawn as well as the houses of the town belonging to the Prince. A good part of these first alienations will never return to the domain. The rest of the estate was subdivided in 1798 and gradually sold.

With the Terror, the mayor was driven out on August 15, 1793 and replaced by a Jacobin. The castle was transformed into a prison from 1793 to 1794, intended for suspects from the department of Oise. Following its sale as national property in 1799, it was transformed into a stone quarry by two entrepreneurs, only the “little castle” being preserved. The Grandes Écuries were requisitioned by the army: the 11th regiment of mounted chasseurs, the 1st dragoons from 1803 to 1806 then the 1st regiment of Polish light horse lancers from 1808 to 1814 were established there.

Several manufacturers take advantage of the sale of Condé property to develop their activity. In 1792, the activity of the Chantilly porcelain factory turned to the manufacture of earthenware under the leadership of its new English owner Christophe Potter. A copper rolling factory was installed in the industrial buildings on the banks of the canal in 1801 then François Richard-Lenoir set up his spinning mill there in 1807. It employed up to 600 people and restored prosperity to the town. Using new English techniques, she diversified into weaving, in particular Indian clothing and laundry. François Richard-Lenoir's spinning mill began to decline in 1814 and, losing its monopoly, went bankrupt in 1822.

In 1815, Prince Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé returned definitively to his castle or what remains of it. He recovers part of the old land in the park and buys the rest. His son, Louis VI Henri de Bourbon-Condé had fountains installed in the city in 1823 as well as a large part of the street lamps in 1827.

A resort and leisure town in the 19th century
In 1834, the lawn of Chantilly hosted its first horse races. From the 1840s, these races attracted punters from all social categories, mainly from the capital. The success of the races comes mainly from the arrival of the railroad in 1859. Later, a station intended for the public of horse races is created to allow the arrival, up to 20,000, of punters and visitors on the day of the races. . A track and then stands are gradually being developed in a sustainable manner to constitute the current racecourse. Attendance records were recorded on the eve of the First World War when 40,000 people attended the Prix du Jockey Club in 1912.

Around this racecourse, a real equestrian economy is being set up with the construction of numerous thoroughbred training stables. A new town planning is developing around this activity with the creation of new districts such as Bois Saint-Denis intended exclusively for this activity. There were two coaches and seventeen lads in the town in 1846 and thirty coaches and 309 lads in 1896. The equestrian world is made up of a very large number of British citizens: jockeys, lads and coaches (76% of the staff of the stables in 1911) constitute a real community in the city to such an extent that an Anglican chapel was built around 1870.


In parallel, a resort town planning is developing: many aristocrats, big bourgeois but also artists settle in the city, having villas and castles built in the surrounding municipalities: the Rothschild family in Gouvieux, for example. Luxury hotels were also created, such as the Hôtel du Grand Condé in 1908. The Duke of Aumale, the last lord of the city, encouraged the development of the horse industry, the installation of the English and the development of city. Between 1876 and 1882, he had the castle rebuilt and concentrated there one of the finest art collections of the time. By receiving high society in his palace (the Empress of Austria Elisabeth, known as Sissi, the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, among others), he contributes to the influence of the city. Its opening to the general public in 1898 following the estate's bequest to the Institut de France adds yet another attraction to Chantilly for day trippers (100,000 visitors during the first six months).

This profusion of wealth is not without attracting greed. On the morning of March 25, 1912, the Bande à Bonnot held up the branch of the Société Générale de Chantilly, then located at what is now Place Omer Vallon, and killed two employees.

Chantilly also experienced war in the nineteenth century: during the war of 1870, the city was occupied by the Prussian army for nearly a year. The Grand Duke of Meklenburg, commander-in-chief of the XIIIth Army Corps and his staff moved to the small castle, his troops requisitioning the Grandes Écuries, the evacuated horse stables and a few private houses.

Chantilly in the twentieth century
Chantilly during the First World War
On September 3, 1914, the German army entered the city but did not settle there and left the following day. Despite occupation of the castle, no particular damage was noted while the neighboring towns of Creil and Senlis experienced fires and destruction. French soldiers did not return to the city until September 9.

After the Battle of the Marne, Generalissimo Joffre set up his staff in Chantilly because of its easy connection with Paris by rail. The Great Headquarters (GQG) moved into the Hôtel du Grand Condé on November 29, 1914, i.e. 450 officers and 800 secretaries and troops. Joffre is staying at the Villa Poiret, a hundred meters away. During the Chantilly conference from December 6 to 8, 1915, he brought together the heads of the allied armies to define the military plans and coordinate the allied offensives for the year 1916. The GQG left the city in December 1916 to settle in Beauvais. Chantilly also accommodates an ambulance for soldiers wounded at the front located at the Lovenjoul hotel as well as at the Egler pavilion. One of the three camouflage workshops belonging to the 1st Engineer Regiment moved to the city in 1917 in specially constructed barracks on the small lawn, near the racecourse. Up to 1,200 women but also 200 German prisoners of war and 200 Annamese workers were hired to paint canvases used for the visual protection of artillery pieces and troop transport.

In the interwar period, the town grew in 1928, with the addition of the Bois Saint-Denis district, dismembered from the town of Gouvieux. A monument in honor of Marshal Joffre was inaugurated in his presence in 1930 in the avenue which currently bears his name.

Chantilly during World War II
With the return of war, the military returned to the city. The ground of the Eagles, on the edge of the city (on the territory of Gouvieux), accommodates a squadron of defense fighter aviation (GC I / 1) of the French army coming from the Air Base 251 Étampes-Mondésir of the declaration of war on the armistice. The Wehrmacht entered the city on September 13, 1940 and settled there. She uses the Great Stables as a veterinary hospital for her horses which are brought in from Germany: it is estimated that 4,000 of them were accommodated in the city during the war. The military command occupies the Grand Condé hotel. Following the assassination of a collaborator, the parish priest, Father Charpentier, author of an anti-Nazi sermon in 1943, was arrested along with other resistance fighters whom he supported. He was deported to the Mauthausen camp where he died on August 7, 1944. The Canardière viaduct was bombed on May 30, 1944 by allied forces and the city was liberated by American tanks on August 31, 1944. The 8th Air Force of the The American Army in turn moved to the Hôtel du Grand Condé.


Chantilly since 1945
Since the last world war, the city has developed with the development of new districts to the north of the city: collective housing, whether social or not, has been built there. Some hotels and villas in the city center are residentialized; stables are destroyed to allow the development of housing. A new population working in the Paris region settles in the town, taking advantage of these new homes. At the same time, the town almost completely lost its industrial activities with the closing of the Guilleminot factories in 1992. New facilities were built: a high school in 1961, a college in 1979.