Discover Benelux | Historical & Cultural Heritage | Castles in Belgium & Luxembourg
Prince Philippe and Princess Françoise.
Photo: Patricia Portetelle
A family castle where creativity flourishes TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: CHRISTIAN LAMBIOTTE
Home to one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe, Château de Chimay is a castle like no other. Throughout its tumultuous 1,000-year history, this splendid castle has been inhabited by the ancestors of the Princes of Chimay. Today it is the main residence of Prince Philippe, the 22nd prince of Chimay, and his wife Princess Françoise, who together continue to build on the castle’s reputation as a hub for the arts. “The theatre is what makes our castle exceptional,” beams Prince Philippe. The breathtaking venue was conceived in 1863 by renowned architects Cambon and Lefuel. Its elegant, Louis XV-style decor is inspired by the Château de Fontainebleau in France, another of Lefuel’s masterpieces. The theatre put Chimay on the musical map and welcomed artists from across the world. Now classified as a historical monument, the theatre continues to host concerts. “We really want to develop the music even more this year,” enthuses Prince Philippe. Concerts sell out quickly, with the theatre even offering a hotel pick-up service
to collect tourists staying in Brussels and transport them to and from shows.
an audiovisual spectacle brings to life the entire history of this fascinating site.
Château de Chimay is equally popular with art lovers, thanks to the temporary exhibitions organised at La Maison des Artistes. Prince Philippe and his wife also host artists in residence, with Princess Françoise - an ardent fan of contemporary art - eager to support talented creatives. There is also plenty for little ones at the castle, which is available as a venue for children’s birthday parties complete with games, dressing up and a ghost hunt. Meanwhile, every December the Prince and Princess welcome around 800 children from local primary schools in a fairytale-like atmosphere to receive a gift from Saint-Nicolas. Want to learn more about Château de Chimay? Visitors can experience its splendour via an innovative and multilingual iPad tour where different members of the Chimay family act as virtual tour guides and an animated character keeps the children entertained. Your tour will end in the refined setting of the theatre, where
Adult entrance to the Chateau de Chimay costs nine euros and includes a multimedia guide in French, Dutch, German and English. It is advisable to check the Chateau’s website for opening hours as these can sometimes vary in accordance with group bookings. Telephone: +32 (0) 60 21 45 31 Email: email@example.com Website: www.chateaudechimay.be
Issue 38 | February 2017 | 39
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.