“ Sightseeing Type: Castles / Palaces / Address: Chimay / Hainaut / Belgium „
Whilst on the International Air Cadet Exchange to Belgium a visit to the Castle of Chimay was on our programme. To be quite honest the castle doesn't exactly look like a castle more like a large house as the original moat and drawbridge have been filled in and removed, as the castle itself is still lived in. Being an International Group with a mix of 17 - 20 year olds from 6 different countries we were given a tour around the Castle by the Princess of Chimay. Tours are however available for everybody and are all conducted by the Princess herself. The tour itself takes you into the castles own chapel were you learn a little bit of information about many of the items in there and are also told the story of how the cloth used to cover Jesus would still be there in the Castle of Chimay today had a Bishop in the area ordered the current owners to have it removed. The tour then continues into the main house were you learn a little about furniture and decoration. You walk through the main lounge a dining area were soldiers used to stay, an anteroom and then finally into the custom built cinema. Here in the cinema you are shown a film about life in the castle throughout the ages and the film itself can be seen in French, Dutch or English. Unfortunately this is however were the attraction finishes as unfortunately the upstairs of the castle was destroyed in fires that ransacked the rooms destroying most of the precious items contained there. Despite the somewhat shortness of the visit I still thoroughly enjoyed it, as the tour was lively and interesting and the stories the Princess told us really made the Castle come to life. The décor and furniture seemed always appropriate and the numerous paintings were a real pleasure to see. Her love for the castle really shone through and the personal touch she brought to the tour was greatly appreciated However I think my enjoyment was probably maximised the most by being with a group of 19 other people who I had spent the previous week and a half with. This is not to say however that I would not recommend a visit to the Castle because I think that it still something very interesting to see. Furthermore the town of Chimay is also very beautiful and holds other attractions to be seen such as an Abbey that offers 90 minute tours around their cheese dairy and brewery, as well as some very nice eating establishments and bars. Guided tours by the Princess start daily from Easter to 30th September between the hours of 10am - 11am and 3pm - 4pm. The admission charge is 7 Euro per person unless you have a group of 20+ people in which the cost is 5 Euro per person.
The castle is one of twelve noble houses of Hainaut and was erected in 1607. It is also host to a beautiful theater which was built in 1863.