Architecture Cultural Heritage Museums

Discover a Medieval castle with an iPad as personal guide

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At the outskirts of Belgium lies a little town mostly known for its cheese and beer: Chimay. But what many don’t know is that Chimay has something a little bit more magical to offer: a beautiful Medieval castle right in the middle of town. You may say that there are a lot of castles in the world… and yes you will be right… but this one is quite special…

Standing in front of the castle you are already impressed. A big entrance welcomes you and the castle reminds you of something from a fairytale. Despite it being inhabited by Prince Philippe and Princess Françoise, it is open to the public on weekends. The first records of the castle date back to 1119, when it was in the hands of Allard II from Chimay. Since then the castle has undergone a lot of transformations to arrive at what it looks like today, but let us not dwell outside, inside a whole other world awaits you…

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One of the three rooms you can visit

Upon entering, you are handed an iPad. It is quite strange to have such a modern thing in an old castle, and it was the first time that an iPad acted as my personal guide. I must confess though, it was one of the best guides I have ever had. As it is still a family home, visitors can only visit three rooms.
By using the iPads you can investigate the rooms at your own pace, and if you would like some more information about an item in the room, all you need to do is orientate the iPad towards it and click. What is definitely a highlight of the visit is being able to speak to 90-year old Princess Elisabeth who not only answers all of your questions, but who speaks perfect English and does so with a great sense of humour!

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The iPad as personal guide

The interior of the castle is gorgeous and every room is decorated in a different style, but the theatre is absolutely breathtaking. The room is decorated with gold and has ceilingfrescoes. Sitting on the red sofa’s, it is not hard to imagine that you are in a big theatre somewhere in Paris, when in fact you are just in a small town in Belgium. Whilst here, visitors enjoy a 3D film about the history of the castle.

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The theatre

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The theatre

Known for cheese and beer, the last thing you expect to find in a small town like Chimay is a castle, but through the ingenious use of iPads, the history of this Medieval home comes to life, giving a unique and satisfactory experience to its visitors.

1 Comment

  1. Emeline Pelzer

    So nice to see an article which remembers that Chimay is not only a (very tasty) beer. The place where I come from is not far from Chimay. I love this town and the castle is really beautiful. I also think that in some cases, tablets are a good alternative to visit a place. Chambord uses it as a virtual tool to recreate the lost decoration and furnitures of the Palace. It is really interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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