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Last Updated on 12th January 2017 by Sophie Nadeau

Although I’m generally not a fan of early mornings (who even is?!), there’s something incredibly rewarding about getting up for sunrise. Although everyone can be there for sunset, you have to make an extra effort to be present for sunrise- particularly when it’s before 6 A.M! The rewarding sunrise at Chantilly was no exception to this rule

The reward following putting in the extra to get up a couple of hours earlier soon became apparent when the sun hit the clouds, the sky turned golden and candy colours danced across the skyline.

Tiredness and cold hands were quickly forgotten, amidst the real life fairytale playing out in equally real time. The lake had turned into a giant shimmering mirror, the fantastic architecture of the castle becoming more and more apparent by the minute.

sunrise over chantilly

Chantilly is a cute little town located near Senlis in the Picardie region of France and is upposedly Chantilly is where Chantilly lace and cream come from (although no one has ever been able to properly verify this). The town also happens to be home to a castle of the same name- one of the most picturesque fairytale castles in France.

The Château itself was never actually home to royalty, but to cousins of the royal family. Today, the site comprises of a 16th Century building together with a 19th Century one. There is a whole load of things to see and do at and around Chantilly. From English gardens to the hamlet that inspired Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet at Versailles, it would be easy to spend a day getting entirely lost within the castle’s history!

Tips for photographing sunrise: 

  • Check the weather the night before: if you’ve got more than a day or two in a location, it may be worth waiting for small amounts of cloud covering. No cloud, and you’ll have a blueish sunrise. A little cloud covering, and you’re likely to get a full range of violet and mauve shades dancing across the sky.
  • Be Patient: often the light gets better and better, the longer you wait.
  • Burn some pixels: Unless you’ve been photographing since Nixon was president, it’s often hard to gauge when the sunrise colours are at their ‘peak’. The more photos you take, the more likely you’ll take the ‘perfect‘ shot.
  • Bring some snacks and refreshments: sunrise is definitely better with sweets! (Plus a coffee is sure to ensure that you’re adequately awake for capturing your best shots!)


And finally, pin Sunrise at Chantilly!

sunrise at chantilly

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About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!


  • Sumti
    20th September 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Amazing Photographs. Loved reading your post 🙂

  • Bella WW
    19th September 2016 at 10:46 pm

    True, morning shots are the best. I love your pictures and the reflection of the castle in the water. So beautiful, I would love to see it 🙂

  • Ana
    19th September 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I stay in Florida and most of the beaches are famous for its sunsets! Therefore I’ve never seen sunrise out here! Your morning pictures are just breathtaking and Chantilly looks like a perfect place for photography!

  • Shane
    19th September 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I can’t decide which I love more about a new destination – sunrise or sunsets. But I do love waking up early as possible. These are spectacular, great photo tips!

  • Tamshuk
    19th September 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Those photos are absolutely stunning. Especially with that beautiful castle and lake, the whole frame is just amazing. And you are right about the clouds.. Whether during sunrise or sunset, the presence of clouds makes the sky look at its best.

  • verushka
    19th September 2016 at 7:05 am

    Thanks for the tips ! I love catching sunrises and sunsets. Such a beautiful Chateau and your final pic is amazing !

  • Blair Villanueva
    19th September 2016 at 6:55 am

    Hello Sophie!

    Thanks for your very helpful tip. Guilty as charge – sometimes I don’t have patience on taking photos, especially when I have very limited time. Lovely post, btw 🙂

    For Urban Women

  • Subhadrika
    18th September 2016 at 6:56 pm

    OMG ! You have taken such ana amazing photograph . i have just lost my heart to it. anyway, that apart loved reading your post. I have never been here but would love to go and explore it once. It seems so tranquil and beautiful.

  • Joanna
    18th September 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Indeed, you have to take a lot of photos until you manage to produce that perfect one. But you did it in the end. I am not a fan of waking up early myself, unless I am jetlagged, and then I love walking down the streets at 6am and observe the morning life of the town.

  • Tae
    18th September 2016 at 9:26 am

    Love that you included the photography tips at the end – something that’s really useful for travel in general. Great tip to look for a few clouds, too. Glad you got the perfect capture, Chantilly looks like a dream.

  • Rashmi and Chalukya
    18th September 2016 at 9:06 am

    Your captures are enough for a reason to get up before sunrise. Incredible pictures. The lake is perfect still and the reflection of the castle is stunning. Such pictures are an inspiration.

  • Thuymi
    17th September 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I HATE early mornings, but it is indeed a necessity for sunrises! That’s why I try to do sunset trips more than sunrise trips. But hey, you don’t always decide on the tours! Amazing shots!

  • Martina
    17th September 2016 at 8:37 am

    In spite of having lived in France for a while I’ve unfortunately seen very little of it and all its fairytale castles are no exception. Chantilly’s though would be a great starting point for the next time I go back! And I will definitely follow your tips for photographing sunrise (while stuffing my face with some viennoiseries of course!). ^^

  • Ami
    17th September 2016 at 6:56 am

    Those are some lovely tips for photographing Cardiff. Loved your shots – from the Panorama to the final output. Chantilly for me always has been a wine county. Never realised how beautiful it was.

  • Jenn
    16th September 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Hey, I am indeed a fan of early mornings. No one around, peace and chill on summer days. And as I mentioned in my last post about photography, it is one of the best moments to get the perfect light and colours. Anyway, beautiful castle you captured there!

  • Danielle - GeekGirlGoes
    15th September 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks so much for those sunrise photography tips! I don’t think I’ve ever seen (the right side of) a sunrise yet! But these pictures are making me think I might have to!

  • Punita
    15th September 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I love France and find it difficult to imagine any part of it less beautiful than the other. Chantilly, too, is a dreamland…so perfect! Unfortunately, we missed it…must cover it next time, since your pictures have more than inspired me to do so.

  • Carmy
    14th September 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Ha! I’m not a fan of mornings either. However, that is a breathtaking view so maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to drag myself out of bed for it haha. But seriously, great shots! I always end up taking photos around noon and the sun is always making it super glaring.

  • Cavaforlunch
    14th September 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I think I’ve probably said it before, but your photos are absolutely stunning! Have you ever taken any photography courses? Or are you just a natural talent? xx

  • Gabi
    14th September 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Interesting tips for morning shooting in general. Reflections over water are always intense and beautiful, but early hours add an extra touch and magic to it. And yes, always bring hot coffee.

  • John
    14th September 2016 at 12:29 pm

    What a nice trip and good points about photographing early in the morning. I love to do sunrise but now that I am older I am usually up at that time anyway. Even more important was the great area that you go to photography. I love Chantilly and have been there before. I love that whole part of the country.


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