The One with Luxembourg City, Luxembourg


Monday, June 8, 2015

Just across the border from Trier, our homebase for this trip, is the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its capital of Luxembourg City. Fortifications have been here as far back as 963 because of the large and easily defensible rocks and cliff faces. Today the diminutive capital is a marvelously contrasting mix of old and new. The old part of town runs along a deep valley beneath the brooding casemates (the old defenses in the rocks) while the more modern part crowns steep cliffs overlooking the old. The city, with a population of 120,000, is the headquarters of the European Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank, and is one of the three seats of the European parliament (along with Brussels and Strasbourg).

For some unknown reason, Rick Steves doesn't cover Luxembourg in any of his guides (as of 2013 when we bought them all) so we had to check out some books from the army library on post. We checked out two guides and printed off a third, yet we still managed to forget ALL of them at out apartment in Trier! Haha.
We found parking near the main square and and admired the beautiful flowers.
William square is named after William II (1792-1849), King of the Netherlands (who used to rule Luxembourg) and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
We stopped by the TI to find a guide book. They had a nice little 2 euro book along with a suggested walking tour so we were set.
On the right of the photo below you can see the Town Hall which was built in the 1830 in a neo-Classical style using stones from the Franciscan monastery that used to be on the site.
Lovely Luxembourg | An equestrian statue of William II, the square's namesake. He granted the Grand Duchy its first parliamentary constitution.
Following the TI's walking tour we left the square and walked towards the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
It is the city residence of the Grand Duccal family and is right in the heart of town. The older Renaissance part of the building dates from 1572, the middle part from 1741-43 was built in a Baroque style, and then in 1891 it was heavily renovated in a largely Renaissance style. It has been the city residence for the ruling family since 1890.
The guard in the photo above would slowly walk back and forth along the front of the building, doing a snappy little turn at each end. It was fun to watch.

The palace was thoroughly restored from 1992-1995 but is only open for tours from mid July to early September so we weren't able to tour it.
Royal doors.
Jane in front of a door, cuz that's what we do.
Our next stop was the hoppin' Place D'Armes. The square was once a parade ground for the military, but now it is a leafy home to cafes and shops. There was a flea market and concert going on so it was quite busy.
At the head of the square is the Cercle Cite, or the City Palace. It's an administrative building with several festival halls.
It has a unique frieze depicting Countess Ermesinde handing over the charter of freedom to the citizens of Luxembourg in the year 1244.
The area felt very Parisian to me. I loved it.
Luxembourg wins for cutest public transportation (IMHO)! I would so drive one of these babies around.
At Constitution square is the "Gelle Fra" (Golden Lady) memorial. It was set up in 1923 to commemorate Luxembourgers who died in the first World War. The monument was pulled down by the Nazis in 1940 and only since 1984 after extensive renovation has the monument been turned back to its original appearance.
The square is at the edge of the rock face and has beautiful view over the Petrusse valley and of the nearby bridges.
Beautiful! There is so much greenery incorporated into the city.
The magnificent gothic Cathedral de Notre-Dame was constructed between 1613 and 1621. It holds the royal family vault and the huge sarcophagus of Count of Luxembourg John I of Bohemia in addition to a impressive treasury.
There was a free organ concert going on when we entered. It's always fun to see these building in use, either for worship or concerts.
The nearby Clairefontaine Square is home to the Grand Duchess Charlotte Memorial. The statue was designed by the Parisian sculptor Jean Cardot.
The kids, as always, sniffed out a playground so we let them play for awhile.
City life.
Perhaps the highlight of Luxembourg is the Corniche. Often called the "most beautiful balcony of Europe," the walkway along the rock face boasts splendid views over the Holy Ghost Citadel and the lower town in the valley.
Absolutely lovely.
My favorite picture of Luxembourg taken from the Corniche.
Old fortifications.
I'm a sucker for ivy.
The Petrusse Valley is created by a confluence of the Cessange and Merl streams and makes a picturesque view down below the main town.
Love locks.
Awesome architecture.
What is this, Lisbon? :)
Luxembourg was a very pleasant town to stroll and enjoy.
Our family in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg on Saturday May 23rd 2015.
Next destination: Trier, Germany!

3 comments

  1. Love, Love, Love the Evans Family travel posts! Today, I'm finding myself really wishing these could be paired up with a co-ordinating episode of something like HGTV's House Hunters International tv show. :) I find myself looking at those beautiful buildings and rooftops in Luxemborg amid all the greenery and wondering if I'm seeing offices or homes...which leads to wondering about what a middle class home would be like. Laundry in the kitchen? Garden on a terrace? Bathrooms without designated shower area? These are the lingering questions on my mind........... LOL

    Obviously, the local playground isn't much different than most urban playgrounds with graffiti decor. :)

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  2. you've been so close!!! I live in a small town close to Bitburg - about 45 min from Trier.... Fun to see all the places you are going!!!

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  3. Lovely little Luxembourg! I only wish, considering its proximity to Belgium, we could have gotten some more Neuhaus chocolates. :)

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