Luxembourg is one of those tiny countries that seems to fall off the radar of many travelers while visiting central or western Europe. From Amsterdam, it’s about a 4 hour car ride or a 5 hour train journey.
As far as Luxembourg is concerned, my knowledge about this country was limited. I knew that while it is one of the smallest countries, it is also one of the world’s richest. Quaint and appealing as it is, the city also has a hard-working business and administrative side, which has made it wealthy. It is a major centre of international banking, the seat of several significant European institutions, and one of three capitals of the EU. Despite its permanent metropolitan population being just 107,247, it is one of the most multi-cultural cities with around 60% of the residents being foreign origin.
We arrived at the train station called the Gare de Luxembourg. It gave us quite a grand welcome with its Moselle Baroque Revival style architecture from the 19th century. Mercure Grand Hotel was right across the station, so we simply dragged our luggage and were checked in a few minutes.
The railway station is about a 20 minutes walk to Luxembourg City. This is a city you can navigate on foot, with plenty of pleasant squares, a lot of green, museums and intact centuries-old architecture. Many areas and monuments in Luxembourg have been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1994.
Dent Creuse also known as the ‘Hollow Tooth’ marks the original birthplace of the city. It is the only remaining trace of the fort built by Count Siegfried of Lorraine in 965 AD. The city of Luxembourg grew and evolved around the fortress.
Near the ‘Hallow Tooth’, stands The Bock and Casemates. A series of rocky cliffs that are above the river Alzette and is part of the ancient city built in 965 AD . The cloriffs over centuries offered a perfect natural fortification for defending the area from invading troops. Count Siegfried began building a castle on the Bock which became the basis for the town of Luxembourg. Over the years the castle was added a series of underground tunnels, passageways and cuts through the rocks that are called the casements. A few of the tunnels remain to this day and are open to walk through.
Chemin de la Corniche is the pedestrian promenade that has been hailed as Europe’s most beautiful balcony. It winds along the course of the 17th-century walled city with views across the river canyon towards the hefty natural fortifications which surrounds the area from all three sides.
Further up from the ancient city is the The Grand Ducal Palace which was built in 1574 and served as the Luxembourg City Hall for over 200 years. In 1890 the palace was exclusively reserved for the Royal Duke and his family. One of the perfect examples of the Renaissance architecture.
Opposite the Ducal Palace is a cosy and charming cafe called the The Chocolate House. Managed by Nathalie Bonn everything on the menu looks mouth watering. Get there before 5:30 pm to get a place outside and a warm blanket.
Across the road from Notre Dame Cathedral stands the Monument of Remembrance and Constitution Square, this is Luxembourg’s national monument which is also known by the name of Gëlle Fra (Golden Lady). It is a war memorial and is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during World War I.
After spending a few hours in the City (Upper Town) and Corniche, we moved down to the Old City of Luxembourg also called the The Grund. The Grund lies directly beneath Vielle Ville, in the valley of the river Alzette. It has many old buildings some even dating back to at least the 1500s. Located deep down in the gorge, the stone houses are built directly into the rock faces.
We decided to stay on in the Grund area as it is popularly known to have quite a night life. We started our evening at Scott’s Pub for a few beers. The location is outstanding and the outdoor patio is right on the water just outside the main town area. We then moved to LiquID at Ville Haute for a live performance by a Jazz band. The streets were quite but the pub was filled with people of different nationalities, good music and some great energy.