Why you should visit Luxembourg
Luxembourg is the epitome of “the charming European city” we all grew up imagining. It’s amazingly cosmopolitan but not overwhelming, except for its extremely complex history. Its gorges traverse the city, making it a spectacular three-dimensional city, with lit-up fortifications along the walls of the gorges -- perfect for the historian and the romantic. And the food is a lovely mix of French, German, Italian and of course Luxembourgish.
Three things you might be surprised to learn about Luxembourg and the people
- Luxembourg is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its old quarters and fortifications.
- General George Patton is buried here
- Villeroy & Boch ceramics started in Luxembourg
Favorite Walks/areas of town
Go to the visitors center in Place Guillaume to sign up for any of the many fantastic—and reasonably priced—group or individual walking, biking or driving (even in your own car) historic tours with an official guide. The tours can include visits to:
- Historic city center
- The Petrusse gorge next to the city center
- The historic Grund, down below the city center
- Clausen, near the Grund
- Petrusse and Bock Casemates
Other very good things to do/see
- American Military Cemetery, Hamm: A beautiful cemetery with more than 5,000 soldiers, most of whom fell in the Battle of the Bulge of WWII in 1944-45. The cemetery also has an impressive chapel and is the burial place of General George Patton. www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/lx.php
- Bosso’s Restaurant: lots of recipes made from potatoes; welcoming, warm atmosphere; good food at reasonable prices, average of 11€/main course, located in the historic Grund
- Chiggeri: famous for its 2200-bottle wine list and its award-winning sommelier Bruno Meril; 16-33€/main course; located in the historic center of the city
- Le Sud: serves fixed menus of 59€ for lunch or 69€ for dinner, located in historic Clausen
- Le Bouquet Garni: located next to the Grand Duke’s palace, lunch 40€, dinner 85-110€
The place to have a relaxing beverage and take in the atmosphere
- Chocolate House, for cakes and all things chocolate, across from the Grand Duke’s palace.
- Kaempff-Kohler, for refined pastries, coffee, tea or a glass of wine, on Place Guillaume
- Wiltgen, for refined pastries, coffee, tea or a glass of wine, on Place Guillaume
- Scott’s Pub in the Grund for a drink on the terrace overlooking the river
- Within the city: on foot
- Getting to the city:
Train: two-hour TGV (fast train) from Paris to Luxembourg, or standard train from Belgium, Holland or Germany, then take a five-minute bus ride from Luxembourg train station to Hamilius, the closest station to the historic downtown
Plane: flights arrive at Findel airport, just a 15-minute drive from the center of the city
Car: parking is a bit difficult but feasible; during summer months, if all underground parking lots in the historic city center are full, try the Glacis outdoor parking lot, located between avenue de la Faiencerie and avenue Pasteur and walk 5-10 minutes to the city center or take the shuttle
Other insights of interest
- Luxembourg has more Michelin-star (13-star) restaurants per capita than any other country in the world.
- Luxembourg is home to the only female chef in the world who won the Bocuse d’Or, the highest honor for chefs.
- The Schengen Agreement, which abolished border controls within the European Union, was signed in the Luxembourgish town of Schengen, on the Moselle river in 1985.
- Luxembourg was one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union).
- Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world.
- Luxembourgish is a language spoken at home by all Luxembourgers.
- Primary school children are taught in German and secondary school children are taught in French. English is taught in the schools and is commonly spoken to tourists.
- Fondation Pescatore is an elegant retirement home with a beautiful park, walking distance from the pedestrian zone in Luxembourg City. It served as General Patton’s headquarters for four months during the Battle of the Bulge.
Day trips within Luxembourg country
- Clervaux: Abbey and château with Edward Steichen’s internationally known Family of Man photo exhibit, which was listed as Memory of the World by UNESCO in 2003. www.fom.lu
- Diekirch, National Museum of Military History: Focusing mainly on WWII, the museum contains a huge collection of authentic items from everyday life of the soldier in Luxembourg during WWII. http://www.mnhm.lu
- Vianden: Restored medieval castle and town and also home to the house where Victor Hugo lived in 1871. www.vianden-info.lu
- Mullerthal: Known as Little Switzerland, the Mullerthal region is a beautiful hiking area, interspersed with waterfalls, wooded slopes and spectacular sandstone outcrops. http://www.mullerthal-trail.lu/en/
Day trips outside of Luxembourg country
- Bastogne, Belgium: About a 40-minute drive from Luxembourg City, Bastogne is the site of the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. See the US WWII Sherman tank on the main square (Place McAuliffe), as well as restaurants and the tourist office; impressive American Memorial on Mardasson Hill, a short drive from the town center. www.paysdebastogne.be/en/discoveries/battle-of-the-bulge
- Trier, Germany: Old Roman city located on the Moselle River; wonderful pedestrian zone with an abundance of restaurants and shopping; about a 25-minute drive from Luxembourg City. www.trier.de
- Verdun, France: The city that most symbolizes the massive loss of life in WWI, Verdun and its surrounding area is a must-see for historians and really everyone. The memorial sites are highly interactive and educational and will keep the attention of old and young. About 1.5 hours from Luxembourg city, the Verdun visitors center sells bundles of memorial site passes at very reasonable prices. http://eng.verdun.fr/
- Hotel Simoncini, located in historic city center, includes single and double rooms and suites, 85-175 € with breakfast
- Les Jardins du President, located in historic Clausen, the lower part of the city, 150€
Things to be aware of or to be avoided
Luxembourg has been voted the safest city in the world. And really it is. Nonetheless, like everywhere, it’s a good idea to be aware of your possessions while in public.
Websites to check-out
AngloInfo Luxembourg: www.luxembourg.angloinfo.com
Luxembourg City Tourist Office: www.lcto.lu
Luxembourg National Tourist Office: www.ont.lu
Luxembourg Tourist Office of London: www.luxembourg.co.uk
Visit Luxembourg: www.visitluxembourg.com
Luxembourg Trivia : www.funtrivia.com/en/Geography/Luxembourg-4154.html
How disabled friendly is the city?
Luxembourg has stringent laws regarding disabled access. The HELP service provides holiday opportunities for those with disabilities. Call HELP at 352-26-70-26 or http://www.ont.lu/extra-en-84.html to find a list of hotels that accommodate disabled persons.