CHRISTMAS AT THE CHÂTEAUX
Christmas in France might look a little different this year, but as usual many of France’s stunning castles are decking their halls to bring some much-needed fairytale cheer to the festive season. Here are two easy day trips from Paris to experience these cherished landmarks in a whole new light.
A little bit of the North Pole comes to the Domaine de Chantilly, with its worldfamous stables, this winter, transforming the château into the grandest Santa’s grotto. The estate welcomes le Pere Noël for over a month of festivities throughout December and into early January.
Christmas trees stand proudly throughout the domaine and magical decorations adorn the château’s staircases and furniture. Young visitors can wear special fancy dress costumes including musketeers and princesses to really bring their Christmas visit to life. Of course, an encounter with le
Pere Noël is an unmissable part of any child’s visit to the estate.
The highlight for many guests is the unforgettable equestrian performances at the Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) and
Christmastime sees an extraspecial show concocted. Last year’s guests were transfixed by Chantilly’s own Christmassy take on Alice in Wonderland, starring an enchanted carousel. domainedechantilly.com
For the 15th year, Vaux-leVicomte will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with grand illuminations. The façade of the 17th-century Baroque beauty will dazzle with its colourful projections displaying an eightminute-long snapshot of the château’s rich history.
Its pretty gardens will also host light displays to capture your attention. The centrepoint is the Christmas-tree lined pathway leading up to the entrance that makes for the perfect photo opportunity. Why not discover the great outdoors here further by taking a horsedrawn carriage ride around the grounds?
Afterwards, warm up inside the château next to roaring fires as you tour the sumptuous decorations in the state rooms, the scent of cinnamon and gingerbread in the air. It’s the perfect way to lift spirits. vaux-le-vicomte.com