Louis- Henri de Bourbon- Conde inherited the Chantilly Estate in 1710. Among the 'improvements' he made to the Estate were the Great Stables, built between 1719 and 1735 from the architect Jean Aubert. The Great Stables were his masterpiece. Monumental in scale, the facade is 186 meters long.
In the centre of the facade is the pavillion crowned with a 28 meter high dome surmounted with a statue of Fame, melted down during the Revolution, and replaced in 1989.
Inside the domed pavillion is a fountain decorated with shells and simulated stalactites. The basin was once adorned with lead figures of horses and dolphins but these were lost in the Revolution. Four lead stags still adorn the pavillion.
The Great Stables housed 240 horses the majority of which which were used by the prince and his guests for hunting.
This magnificent building has been described as the most beautiful stables in the world. It was the site of festivities held in honour of Chantilly's many illustrious visitors including Louis XV; Gustav III, King of Sweden and Grand Duke Paul, the future Tsar Paul I of Russia.
Behind the stables were three courtyards . Around one of them were the coach houses where the Prince's Berlins (coaches) and caleches (open carriages) were housed. Another courtyard was a riding school, 40 meters in diameter used for the training and display of Haute Ecole horsemanship that was surrounded by monumental arcades supported by Ionic columns.
The third courtyard were surrounded by the kennels. The Prince kept seventy five couple of hounds for his favourite pastime; hunting.
In 1814, the Prince of Conde returned to Chantilly and resumed hunting, continuing the equestrian tradition of Chantilly.
Today the Grand Stables are the magnificent backdrop to Chantilly Racecourse (Hippodrome de Chantilly). The first race was run here on the right-handed track on 15 May 1834. In 1886 the Duke of Aumale donated the racecourse and stables, with the rest of the Chantilly Estate to the Institut de France. Chantilly hosts two of the French Classics, in the first week of June the Prix de Jockey Club, the French 'Derby' for three year old colts and the Prix de Diane, the French 'Oaks' for three year old fillies.