Bookshelf of the Week: Library of the Château de Chantilly

For this week’s Bookshelf of the Week I thought I’d return to the grand and impressive once more, and it doesn’t get much more grand and impressive than this, the library of the Château de Chantilly, situated in the city of Chantilly in northern France.

The library is housed in the Petit Château, one of the two attached buildings that make up the Château de Chantilly. The other building (the Grand Château), was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt during the 1870s. The Petit Château however, built in the sixteenth-century for Anne de Montmorency, survives in its original state.

Not only does the library of the Petit Château contain over 1300 manuscripts and 12,500 printed volumes, including a Gutenberg Bible, it also holds one of the most important illuminated manuscripts of the 15th century, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Considered to be one of France’s greatest art treasures, this mediaeval masterpiece, which is often referred to as ‘the king of the illuminated manuscripts’ consists of 416 pages, of which 131 of the pages have large miniatures painted upon them.

The most beautifully decorated section of Très Riches Heures is the calendar section, which contains illustrations representing each month of the calender year (an essential inclusion in a book of hours). And thanks to WebMuseum, Paris you can browse this exquisite section of the manuscript.

Given the beauty and importance of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry in France’s cultural history, it is wholly befitting that it is housed in such sumptuous surroundings, and aside from being kept in the Château de Versailles itself, I can think of no finer tribute. It has given me much pride to have brought the library of the Château de Chantilly to you this week. I hope that it has given you as much delight as it has given me.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. stujallen (Twitter: stujallen)

    very grand ,very french Rob 🙂 ,all the best stu

  2. Beautiful Rob, absolutely beautiful. This is a nice series actually looking to the others on the right, but this one definitely stands out.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Thank you Max. Yes I have to say that’ it’s one of the most grand ones of these series so far.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Impressive, indeed! I was once told that all those classy palace libraries from ages-gone have a secret staircase behind a false set of shelves – this seems like exactly the sort of library that would have all kinds of hidden passageways leading to various different rooms… A lovely set of bookshelves either way.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Oh, you can just tell that there’s lots of hidden nooks in this room can’t you? How thrilling it would be to discover an undiscovered one, full of old literary treasures :).
      Thanks for dropping by
      Rob x