Please find driving directions and map below the main text
Chimay is one of the smallest towns in Belgium: although merged with ten villages it has less than 10.000 inhabitants. On the Grand Place one can see some interesting reminders of its history.
Located in the “heel of Hainaut” (la botte du Hainaut), caught between the province of Namur and the French ”Département des Ardennes”, Chimay is above all reputed for its typical landscape, its historic castle and its famous “Trappist“ abbey.
The Castle of Chimay was built and rebuilt on a rocky hill dominating the Eau Blanche. It dates from the 12th century and was periodically attacked and several times destroyed. It was an ally of England during the Hundred Years War. The County of Chimay became seat of a Principality by order of Emperor Maximilian of Austria in 1486, with Charles 1er de Croy as the first Prince of Chimay.
At the castle we will have two guides (English and Fr-Nl) to the castle and its famous theatre.
From there we will head to Bourlers (some 8 km) for a short presentation of the beers and cheeses of ”Chimay” at the Information Center, set up by the Abbey in its Auberge de Poteaupré (Rue de Potaupré 4, Bourlers), where we will also have lunch.
A short walk (10’) will finally take us to the “Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont” where we will get a global idea of its location, structure and importance. Set up in 1850 the Abbaye grew rapidly and itself set up two new Trappist communities in the 20th century, one in Wales and one in the Congo. But conform to its device “Ora et labora”, it also successfully developed its production of beer and cheese, which became an important source of local employment and of income. Moreover, some twenty years ago the Abbey set up a foundation (“Chimay-Wartoise”) to improve the social and economic development of the whole region which indeed deserves our great interest!
From Brussels (Ring-Tervurenlaan) to Chimay about 122 km , normally 1h50 On the ring of Charleroi take exit Philippeville (N5),then from Philippeville to Couvin (N42) and there the N99 to Chimay