Chimay Tourist Attractions
Surrounded by extensive woods the small town of Chimay is situated in the province of Hainaut, near the French border. Jean Froissart, chronicler of the Hundred Years' War, spent his last years in Chimay; another famous inhabitant of the town was Thérése Tallien (1773-1835), an enigmatic personality, who went down in history as "Notre-Dame de Thermidor". As the wife of the proconsul of the French republic, Tallien, she encouraged him to resist the tyrant Robespierre, which later led to his downfall. Following her divorce from Tallien she married François-Joseph de Caraman, Prince of Chimay, and turned the château at Chimay into a meeting place for lovers of music and theater.
The attractive small Grand-Place is surrounded by several old manor houses and the 17th C. town hall.
Sts Pierre et Paul
The collegiate church of Saints-Pierre-et-Paul stands directly in the center of the Grand-Place. Building of the choir started in the 13th C. but the tower was not completed until the 18th C.The church interior contains Baroque choir stalls (1702) and the tombs of Charles de Croy, the chamberlain of Charles V, Madame Tallien and Jean Froissart. Among the church treasure is a small chest decorated with Byzantine mosaics which belonged to Philippe de Croy.
A few yards to the west of the Grand-Place is Chimay Château, built on a rocky promontory over the Eau Blanche River by the Croy family in the 16th C. Madame Tallien commissioned the construction of a theater in the courtyard but it was partly burnt down in 1935 together with the château.The tour leads through rooms furnished in contemporary style to the Grand Hall with an interesting 14th C. fireplace and into various drawing rooms where keepsakes of Madame Tallien and her visitors can be seen, including a portrait of Princess Gérard; in the Napoleon Room the christening dress of Eugène, son of Napoleon III is displayed.