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History

In its actual shape, Chimay represents nearly the old "ground of Chimay", first a simple seigniery, than an earldom and finally transformed into a principality by Maximilien d'Autriche in 1486.

Wandering through Chimay, you will appreciate the charm of a 1000 years old town.                         Going through its narrow streets with confined house, or walking down the old stairs taking you to the washing-place or to the fortifications, you'll discover the highly historic past of this medieval town.

Chimay and mainly down town has keptits medieval topography : the shape of the tiny streets observed on the eldest engravings or lithographies, is found nearly identical on today's plans.  

The castle, built on a rock, overhangs the Eau Blanche by 16 meters ; it's situated near the basis of the 2 square towers that were part of defensive work of the town in the old days. You reach it through the Grand Place and the Rue du Château. 

The Triumphal Door 
Achieved in 1630, this "Toscanian" door has 3 arcades.                    Above them, you can see the emblem and motto of th Caraman :             « JUVAT PIETAS » (piety stands with me).

 

 

 

 

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Princes of Chimay castle 
Today, the prince's family still live in the castle, symbol of the principality.

 

 

 

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Castle park                                                                                                                                       It was progressively created between the 16th and 19th century by the different members of the prince's family. Nowadays, the park covers 120 hectares and is nearly all surrounded by walls.   The Eau Blanche crosses the park completely to the village of Virelles. 

 

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The Savary Hotel
Today the Post building, it was erected in the 18th century and was named after one of its owners, Mr Savary, who was an iron-master. The hotel's court-yard overhangs the Place du Chapitre. This was named so because it was surrounded by the old houses of the Ste Monégonde's canons. Ste Monégonde has been Chimay's co-patroness since the 12th century. 

 

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The assembly-hall                                                                                                                           From the original building dating from 1724, you'll only find the frontwall facing the Grand Place. It was considerably transformed in 1868.          The assembly - hall, the inside market and the dungeons were renewed in 2002.

 

 

 

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Down town                                                                                                                                     Do not hesitate to wander in down town streets. You'll discover an unexpected aspect of the town : the shortly renewed Saint-Price fountain and the old washing-place and its legendary story of the 7 springs.

 

 

 

 

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The Old Tower                                                                                                                               The old tower is the only leftover part of the fortifications.                      The numerous wars and assaults of the 16th and 17th centuries caused the destruction of the fortified fence.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Princes Fountain                                                                                                                  This neo - gothic monument was erected in 1852 by Prince Joseph I de Riquet (surnamed the Great Prince). It replaces an 18th century fountain fed by springs from the Terne des Vaches. At mid-height, you'll find a member of the prince's family on the 4 sides of the column.
- Looking for the assembly-hall: Philippe Gabriel d’Alsace, 15th Prince of Chimay
- Converted to the Triumphal Door : François Joseph de Riquet, Comte de Caraman
- Looking to North: Pierre-Paul Riquet, créateur du Canal du Midi
- Looking to the Collegiate Church : Madame Tallien, wife François Joseph de Riquet.

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St Pierre and Paul's Collegiate Church                                                                                          The eldest part of the actual church dates from the 13th century.            It's a specimen of the Soisson's architecture at the time.                     The church'chimes is one of its kind. It's a real piano with a small key-board and it hasn't got a mi-bemol. The eldest of its 26 bells dates from the 17th century.