Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Luxembourg City, great destination for a city break

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a weekend in Luxembourg City, the capital of Luxembourg. The main attraction, the Vielle Ville (Old City) is perched high on an escarpment over the rivers Alzette and Petrusse. Down in the valley you'll find the three Villes Basses (Lower Towns) of Grund, Clausen and Pfaffenthal. We stayed in the Park Inn by Radisson, just a short walk from the old town, it was comfortable and good value for money. If you're looking for a destination for a relaxed weekend break, Luxembourg city is ideal. Its a compact city with no need to hop in the car or take public transport to see the old town.

Place Guillaume II

Place Guillaume II is the city's largest square which was named after Grand Duke William II, you'll find Cathedrale Notre-Dame to your left as you look at the statue of the Grand Duke. On Saturdays there is a market in the square which is worth a wander round. We celebrated our anniversary in Brasserie Guillaume and had a delicious meal washed down with a lovely bottle of Luexmbourg white wine. The menu was in French but don't worry if you don't understand it as the waiters will help.

Catehdrale Notre-Dame, in the background

Hotel de Ville
The two main attractions in the Old Town are the Palais Grand-Ducal and the Casemates du Bock. The Palais Grand-Ducal was renovated and restored to its former glory during the 1990s and there are guided tours throughout the day. For some reason the two English ones are at 4pm and 5pm. They seem to cater more for their visitors from the Benelux and Germany than those coming from further afield.

Palais Grand-Ducal
View of the lower town, the district called Grund.
The Casemates du Bock are a network of galleries, staircases and tunnels which spread over a distance of 23kms. They were built between 1737 and 1746 by the Austrians and included gun emplacements, munitions stores, workshops and more. During the 2nd World War they were used as bomb shelters for 35,000 people. They have a great view over the lower town and Eglise St. Jean-Babtiste in the area called Grund.

 Casemates du Bock

On our second evening, we had another lovely dinner. This time at Restaurant Les Caves Gourmandes,  another great meal and another resturant worth visiting. This time they did have an English menu. The service perhaps was a little slow but the unique situation made up for that. In general the cost of a meal out is similar to that in the rest of the Benelux countries. After the meal, we walked down to the Lower Town of Grund to watch some of the Jazz & Blues concert at the Eglise St. Jean-Babtiste, a former Benedictine Abbey which is now a vibrant arts venue.

Restaurant Les Caves Gourmandes
The following morning we returned to Grund for a walk around this lovely town. This is one of the beauties of visiting Luexmbourg City, there is so much that you can see on foot.

So would we recommend a trip to Luxembourg City? Without doubt, yes! There is a lot to do and see at a relaxed pace. There are some amazing views over the Lower Towns and the walk down the hill is well worth it, to take some time to explore them. Luxembourg does seem to cater  more for visitors from the other Benelux countries and Germany so there isn't too much English signage in museums. That aside, it's another beautiful city which we're sure you will enjoy as much as we did.