Luxembourg

Luxembourg City is close to the airport and it is served well by public transport. They are currently building a tram system from the airport into the city. This should be finished by the end of 2017.

My first impressions were that it is very green even in and around the main city.

The main language spoken is Luxembourgish which is mostly a combination of German and French, but most of the people we met spoke very good English as well as German and French so language isn’t a problem and passable French worked well in shops and restaurants.

Luxembourg City is very walkable as there isn’t a huge amount of traffic but it is hilly and cobbly so the less mobile could have a few issues but there is a good bus network and only 2 euros for 2 hours or 4 euros all day. Of course the bonus of a green and hilly city are the fabulous views to the valleys below.

The city caters very well for tourists as their guides can cater for 28 languages. Elke, our guide was with us for 2 days to show us the sights of the city and Kirchberg Plateau on the outskirts of the city. The city has the nickname Gibraltar of the north because it is rocky and it is a fortified city but apart from the casements which have some similarities with St Michael’s caves, without the apes of course, it really is nothing like Gibraltar. It is unique and didn’t remind me of anywhere else I’ve been. It has a lot more history than I imagined but unsurprising considering it’s strategic position bordering Belgium, Germany and France and the influences from its neighbours. Apart from the casements, there are the Royal Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Courts of Justice, some excellent museums, the fort and some good shopping in the usual plethora of familiar European high street shops and a twice weekly market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There are also some lively bars which open until the early hours of the morning.

Kirchberg showcases the modern part of the city, some fabulous architecture including the architecturally interesting Philharmonic arena, European Courts of Justice, European School of Luxembourg, museum of Modern Art, built on top of the Musee Drai Eechelen to represent how ancient and modern blend well. There is also an open space with trees planted for all the EU Countries and popular with skateboarders.

Our last day took us to the Moselle region and the tiny village of Schengen, made famous by the treaties of 1985 and 1990 where the Schengen agreement was signed on a river ship on the Moselle between Schengen and Germany across the water. The guided tour was very interesting and there is a small museum with a lot of free literature in several languages. Behind Schengen are vineyards and we were soon to visit les caves des St Martin and sample some Cremant, their own sparkling wine and also their Pinot Grigi which was excellent too. We had an absolutely wonderful buffet lunch in the restaurant which would suit even the most fussy eater.

Luxembourg is worth visiting either as a standalone weekend or in combination with Trier in Germany which is only a few kms away or with France or Belgium either by rail or self drive. My advice would be to book well in advance for the best air fares. If you are planning a meeting or conference of course Luxembourg has excellent facilities but if you are a leisure traveller it is best to travel at weekends to avoid these.

If you are interested in a weekend break to Luxembourg or to combine it with neighbouring countries please call me on 020 3432 4740 or email cathie.odea@travlcounsellors.com

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