In this stage we finally cross over from Belgium and into France.
Église de St Martin
Built in the 12th century. The Tower and naves are of Romanesque origins.
Château de Chimay
Chimay is known worldwide because of the beer made by the Trappist monks.
The castle was built in the 15th century on a rocky outcrop about the Eau Blanche river. It has been continuously inhabited by the descendants of the Princes of Chimay. Through the years it has passed through 4 great families as certain lines were left without heirs. The current owner is the 22nd Prince of Chimay, Philippe de Riquet, Prince de Caraman.
What makes the Chateau really special is the rococo style theatre inside. The theatre was conceived in 1863 by renowned architects Cambon and Lefuel. The Louis XV-style decor was inspired by after another of Lefuel’s masterpieces, the Château de Fontainebleau in France. The theatre is now considered a historic monument and is still used for concerts during Chimay’s summer music festival.
Château de Solre-sur-Sambre
Built around the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries.
- Wikipedia (in french)
As the peloton passed through this small town, I noticed a fountain with a rotation globe in it in one of the town’s plaza/roundabouts. It was hard to miss as the cyclists had to split to go around it. Its another one of those ‘blink and you miss it’ moments but enough to interest me into finding out more about it.
This town is in the heart of champagne country with vineyards all around. Aÿ is one of only 17 towns with Grand Cru status. Many wineries including Bollinger call this town home. Also of note, this is the birthplace of Réne Lalique the designer of crystal.
The globe is located specifically in the Place de la Liberation. There is a war memorial also located to one side of this plaza.