CHIJMES is a beautifully structured historic building complex in Singapore that has been gazetted as a national monument. It once housed a Catholic convent school known as the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) and their convent quarters known as Caldwell House. With a history of over 130 years, the complex is located at Victoria Street. It has been restored for commercial purposes, such as shopping, dining and an entertainment centre.
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Brings back memories
CHIJMES brings back so many fond memories - being an IJ girl, I've had school trips there to discover its history as the old site of CHIJ.
Recently, I paid CHIJMES a visit again with my JC friends, and I realised how funny that something that belonged in my secondary school memories was refreshed with new friends I made in JC.
Though CHIJMES is beautiful both in the day and night, I would recommend paying a visit during nighttime due to the range of bars and pubs available. Its a good place to just relax with your friends over a couple of drinks.
CHIJMES rhymes with sublimes and mealtimes
This is the rich man's hawker centre. Oh dear! Have I offended? One thing you must learn in Singapore is to differentiate between hawker centre, coffee shop, food court, cafe, and restaurant.
So, what should I say? This is the rich man's hawker centre.
A collection of fair to reasonable to excellent restaurants are spread out n the historic old Catholic convent. Gardens have been re designed. Air conditioning has been added. The nun's chapel has been commercialised. There! I have said it. Commercialised.
It is a wonderful and fascinating place to visit, but it is an up market place, and perhaps the amazing ambience justifies the inflated prices in such (gastronomically excellent( restaurants such as Lei Garden and La Baroque. You can choose: inside in style, or outside in the lovely gardens watching a quite lovely fountain.
Avoid parking there though. Along with Parkview, it is almost as expensive as Sydney. (Not quite, but I am sure you know what I mean. Nothing is more expensive than parking in Sydney!)
OK, you need to fork out a little more, but hey, this place has a unique vibe. Maybe the goodness of the nuns remains in its once hallowed walls. From priests to what some see as Singapore's premier lifestyle destination: what a transformation.
CHIJMES is definitely worth visiting.
House of Love
Chijmes is a beautiful place, some may say it is a piece of gothic church that was taken from the French in the 19th century and plastered into good old Victoria Street.
Honestly, anyone who enters Chijmes is bound to realize that this royal-like building definitely has a rich history to it. We all know it used to be a school for IJ girls, since I'm an IJ girl myself, I have been to Chijmes inside several times to tell you of my experience.
When I enter Chijmes, stories of what I heard from my old teachers came flooding to me like an ocean of time. I enter through the Gate of Hope, a little gate at the back entrance. This part of Chijmes may be small but very significant to me, It was here I first entered Chijmes with my school teachers and where they told me that unwanted babies were left here long ago and the nuns brought them up. Thus, the name. And as I walk around the corridors, the same thought comes to my mind all the time: Chijmes is truly a remarkable place. Years ago, i can imagine the little girls in their uniforms all giggling and playing together, while hoping the strict nuns who cared for them won't find out their mischiefs. They must have a nice time running and enjoying their lives at the very place that I stepped on, this amazing enchanted estate.
Chijmes is THE place for an OH SO mesmerizing stroll into one of our local school heritage. The ambience is perfect for a romantic time with a loved one, a hearty time with peers like how the old IJ girls used to have fun on this school ground, or even just by yourself and appreciating this pretty picturesque place. Its presence of elegance is accompanied by slightly creepy domed-shaped architecture, the intricate extensive designs on the walls, and the old-fashioned tiles on the floor; truly befitting a scene of grandeur.
Beautiful place that seems to be known more for its pubs and bars
CHIJMES is really a very fascinating place. You can see wedding parties being held at its church front, conjuring images of the pure and angelic, until you venture deeper inside to find it filled with pubs and bars, reveling drunkards and all - and you realise you can't make your mind up about the exact image of this place.
That aside, I enjoy looking at the beautiful architecture and hanging out with my friends at the al fresco bars, enjoying the fine night breeze, which is amazingly not blocked by the building structure. There is a little flea market around at night too to attract the revelers, but it may be pretty expensive. We were pretty shocked to hear that the palm reading service was ~$70!
several years ago, i first stepped into chijmes for a school assignment, little did i know what i was getting myself into... it was absolutely stunning. i found myself engrossed in snapping pictures away instead of actually conducting research for my project. even though i went in the day, the european architecture and wall engravings was so captivating, i told myself i'll be back. and i did, when my friends surprised me with an elaborate birthday dinner with flowers and christmas lights, that was a memorable night for me. anyway it's a lovely place especially for couples or heart-to-heart talks with close girlfriends over a drink or two. they have a wide variety of western, spanish, italian cuisine but they are more famous for their alcoholic drinks. if you're lucky you might catch a jazz or vocal public performance at the mini amphitheatre.
As a former IJ girl, going to CHIJMES always brings back fond memories as it is the birthplace of CHIJ in Singapore.
Every IJ girl will have been to CHIJMES at least once on a school trip - it is mandatory to visit this place to understand and appreciate the history of CHIJ. Indeed, visiting CHIJMES helped me understand the culture of CHIJ much better.
Today, CHIJMES has become a bit of a lifestyle hub, but is better known for its nightlife due to the various pubs and bars in the area. For some sight-seeing, the best time to visit is at night when the lighting is all set up, and CHIJMES looks simply majestic and beautiful.
A beautiful place.
As majestic as it looks on the exterior, the same goes for the interior. Both the architecture and the design on the inside of the building never fails to captivate. It's charm increases as it gets dark. At night, this place goes abuzz, with people drinking and celebrating, guzzling glass after glass of alcohol.
The lights enhance the ambience at night. Situated in Chijmes are many restaurants seling different types of food, which would be a great place to hangout on a friday and saturday night with one's colleagues after work for some drinks and party.
Proud to be IJ
Being an IJ girl, I remember CHIJMES being the destination of my very first school trip in my secondary school.
I was amazed by both the exterior and the interior. I was tilting my camera at all different angles to get shots of the chapel for I was convinced it looked something out of Disney back then, like a castle.
CHIJMES used to be an old IJ campus, now converted into an attraction for tourists and locals alike. Lots of dining areas and shops inside now as well, though they lack variety. Restaurants are a bit pricey too.
It's not much of an entertainment, more of a place just for strolling, relaxing and the taking in of the beauty of the former IJ campus.
CHIjMES is a beautiful place inside and out. It's grand exterior is sure to attract tourists and locals to take a relaxing walk around, and even go inside the chapel, which has an intricate gorgeous interior.
Although it was once a Catholic convent, today it stands proud and tall as a place for dining, shopping and holding events, allowing people to do more than just strolling and exploring the area. They have a good variety of restaurants and cafes here at CHIJMES, although judging from the classy look, appear to be pricey, but I wouldn't know as I have never dined there before.
I envision CHIJMES to be a perfect place for weddings and other romantic events, as well as photography, be it scenic or with a model. Heck it, just experiencing the place by walking around is great enough, and I highly recommend people of all kinds to at least have a nice exploration around the national monument at least once in their life!
More than meets the eye
As the old Anglo-french gothic chapel stands, many would not take notice in this decently maintained architecture piece right in the midst of the city chaos. Built in the early days, it was the home to the pioneer convent schools, now known as CHIJ Toa Payoh and CHIJ St Nicholas. I was unaware of this piece of treasure up till the days when I attended a history tour around Singapore that I realised there are many hidden gems that we are blinded to.
Little did I know that the basis of the name was even derived from the history of the CHIJ campus. Rumours around typically tell on how haunted the place is, since is has such a long standing history behind it. The restoration works that have been done to it transformed the entire place to an upbeat modern drinking-chilling area that we have today which is very popular with the younger generation for the sole fact that it has such a nice ambiance. I really appreciate how despite all of it, the historical pieces are very well maintained in the chapel and the designs are still kept almost near original condition. A commendable effort I must say!