France: Chantilly

David returns to the town of Chantilly and to the spectacular Parc du Château de Chantilly for the next stop on the tour; he performed two nights here in July 1994 with Pink Floyd at its famous racetrack.

Fans of James Bond might recall that this was the home of villain Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, in 1985’s A View to a Kill (back when Bond was played by Roger Moore).

25 miles from Paris, steeped in opulence and history through Revolution and Restoration, surrounded by formal gardens and parkland spanning some 285-acres with forest providing a stunning backdrop, the château was once the home of Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, fifth son of Queen Marie-Amélie and King Louis-Philippe – the last King of France. As grand as you would expect it to be, its art galleries boast the second largest collection of antique paintings in France after the Louvre, with an equally impressive and extensive reading room that houses the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts in France after its National Library.

Interestingly, their layout remains almost unchanged since the Duke’s death in 1897, as per his wishes. With no heir to inherit the estate, it was bequeathed to the Institut de France to be opened to the public on the condition that its prized collections remain in Chantilly and are never to be sold nor loaned out.

One final line, if I may, as I suspect recent events are playing on your minds right now: Please don’t let the deranged actions of one crazy bastard in Nice prevent you from having a happy and hearty time tonight.

Vive la France.