I've sung the praises of Domaine de Chantilly before. It's an absolutely fabulous chateau, as far as chateaus go, and it has not one but THREE Rafael's within its lovely walls. In fact, as far as loveliness goes, I have to admit that Terrence and I were a little art-hungover by the time we made it to Chantilly this time. Too many museums, with too many works of art, the colors all kind of melted into a hazy glob of visual vomit. There were also far too many visitors this time around and some of its charm had gone. For example, on our last visit to Chantilly, the gift shop was sort of backward and perfect, offering souvenirs one would actually want from a castle, and now they sold plastic knights on horses and commemorative cups and bags. (Last time we'd bought old prints of the original architectural design of the palace and an antique map of France-- both for 5 euro, but, alas, these were on offer no longer.)
We felt almost jostled by the sheer amount of other visitors, families and other tourists, bumbling about, cameras up, taking pictures without looking at a damn thing. For me, it had lost a little of its je ne sais quoi.
But Chantilly was still dazzling, and they still served Chantilly cream by the bowlful in the basement restaurant, which, I think, is enough to redeem even the most crowded of castles.