When Swiss haute watchmaking brand Richard Mille announced its decision last year to renew the Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille classic car show and competition for 2015, it was difficult to imagine how the brand would improve on last year’s terrific revival.
The event, that took place during the first week-end of September at the beautiful Chantilly castle and grounds just an hour away from Paris, provided an array of activities that culminated with the Concours d’Elégance on Sunday Sept 6, where a panel of nearly 40 renowned experts conferred to judge three automobile competitions. The “concours d’élégance” at Chantilly is already considered by automobile experts to be one of the top three in the world. Reinstated by the brand last year after disappearing in the 1920s, this year’s event was held under the patronage of the French Ministry of Culture, with a total of 13,000 visitors, for an increase of 35% over last year, gathering to celebrate the homage to elegance.
For Richard Mille guests, events began on Saturday when we were treated to lunch and a polo game at the Polo Club de Chantilly, organized by Richard Mille partner Argentinian Pablo MacDonough, one of the top three polo players in the world. Later that afternoon, an eagerly awaited exhibition of French renaissance King François 1er was inaugurated in the neighboring Jeu de Paume on the magnificent Chantilly grounds that are being restored by the Aga Khan Foundation.
Also to visit were the amazing art galleries inside the castle that have the second largest collection of antique paintings in France after the Louvre, including the famous “The Three Graces” by Raphael.
Early in the evening, guests gathered in the courtyard entrance of The Great Stables before entering the first domed room of the stunningly restored structure to listen to a captivating interpretation of Franz Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden”, followed by an exquisite Official Gala Dinner prepared by three Relais & Chateaux starred Chefs, served in the adjacent 186 m2 long room that is home of equestrian shows and haute-école horse training on “normal” days.
Sunday was paced with a variety of distractions for all ages, from hot air balloon to boat and carriage rides, and even a horse show in front of the castle. But the focus was the display and competition of the most beautiful classic cars in the world. Automobile clubs including Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and Aston Martin shared the grounds with manufacturers Bugatti, McLaren and Mercedes, joined by such motor racing greats as the 1967 F1 BRM H16 and the 1971 Ferrari 312B2.
Winner of the prestigious Richard Mille “Best of Show” prize was the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster 1936 released from the Louwman Museum for the event, while the Concours d’Elégance was awarded to the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage R partnered with the Balmain Fashion House. The Concours des Clubs that featured almost 850 cars from 40 clubs went to the Amis de Delage. Last but not least, Monsieur Richard Mille himself, known automobile enthusiast, won the Alain Figaret award in the category Formula One Grand Prix Cars from 1966 to 1972 of the Concours d’Etat that assessed 100 automobiles in 15 categories. His BRM P 115 H16 lightweight chassis 01 from 1967 is a unique model housing one of the most complex engines ever created.
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - The cars arriving at the castle grounds
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - 13,000 admirers of Arts and Elegance
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - Boating and parading in the gardens designed by Le Nôtre
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - Polo in action
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - Polo star and Richard Mille partner Pablo MacDonough
Richard Mille Chantilly Arts and Elegance - Richard Mille at the wheel of his 1967 BRM P 115 H16 lightweight chassis 01
Happily for all lovers of arts and elegance, Richard Mille and Peter Auto have already scheduled their third edition for 2016 at the Château de Chantilly.
Photo Credit: Richard Mille / Cyrille George Jerusalmi: Getty Images. For more information, please visit the official Richard Mille website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.