Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Luxembourg : rain, cafes and a duke

A few weekends ago was another time for a little escape from the busy city of Paris. As Brussels two months ago, me and my friends, we packed our bags in order to take the train to… the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg! It is my 23rd country (24 and 25 will actually follow this summer) and although weather was pretty rain-intensive and cold, I very much liked the medieval, hilly and multicultural city in the middle of the Ardennes.

The Grund
  • Coming from Paris we expected to be confronted with comparable prices but were positively surprised that the price level was below the one we are used to. In order to avoid any touristic place, we went to Mama loves you near the station, a young and funky open kitchen with great burgers, pizzas and other dishes (like Chili con Carne on a tortilla nest or these oh-my-god-this-is-so-well-flavoured chips). It is a real secret tip and I will certainly head there again when in the city.
  • The Aal Eechternoach is the restaurant that we tried and loved in Echternach (see below). The portion size is huge, so if you are going for a salad, a small one is by far enough.

Bars & Nightlife
  • While strolling through the city, I didn’t have the feeling that a lot of young people lived there. It was only until midnight when we went to the Epic that I finally was surrounded by a generation my age. The Epic is for free with a good mix of top dance music and again vaults create this very special Luxembourgian style.
  • Some of my friends continued their night in the district of Clausen. Here you find about 7 clubs next to each other, so that club hopping is a great opportunity. Their favourite were the Verso and Sins City (I don’t want to know what happened there…)

  • Since it rained pretty much 48 hours, cafes were the spot to hang out. I loved the Cafe Konrad with its young and hip atmosphere where especially bio products are sold. Even if it’s crowded upstairs, don't forget to check out the vault with its comfy armchairs and jazz music.
  • If you love cakes as much as I do, I must send you to the Chocolate House in front of the Duke’s Palace. A-MA-ZING. In fact, the 4-Euro cake parts (I went for a chocolate explosion) are so big that you easily can share them in order to combine them with one of their 20 different hot chocolate flavours: orange, coconut, black & white, cookie, lemon, chili… no limits are set.
  • Since my stomach was already full, I couldn’t try another cafe which is the Oberweis. Nevertheless I had a glimpse inside when I saw these decorative sweet treats that are apparently as tasty as they look. Though, the atmosphere is a lot more modern and cleaner than in the Chocolat House.

Activities & Shopping
  • Even if Luxembourg is cute, we talk about a quite small city. Therefore I strongly advise you to not spend more than a day in the city when a tourist. Instead visit the beautiful countryside of the little (oh sorry, I mean, Grand) Duchy.
  • Casemates: The perfect activity being in Luxembourg City when it rains. The Casemates are holes in the medieval city wall where soldiers defended the city centre from. You actually can get lost since there are narrow and steep steps that eventually end in a labyrinth.
  • Kirchberg: The business part of Luxembourg where a lot of banks and holdings have their offices. If you are up for shopping, the Auchan Shopping Centre invites you to do so.
  • Müllerthal: If you like hiking, the Müllerthal, 30 minutes away from Luxembourg City, is the escape for friends and family. Little rivers and green forests represent the perfect environment to go hiking, picnicking and spending time with mother nature.
  • Echternach: A stone throw away from the German border, this picturesque village is strongly influenced by its big neighbour. While in Luxembourg city most people speak French, Echternach is home to German speakers (and German specialities with small prices). There is no better that having a good Bitburger beer on the market place while the old Basilica keeps ringing its bells.

Personal recommendation
  • My friend who lives in Luxembourg was very unhappy about the bad weather since he planned some great outdoor activities like wild river rafting (or canoe)  and a high ropes course. I assume that if I had done it, I would probably recommend it here. Sniff.

Personal Data
  • Visiting Date: Weekend May 2014
  • Accomodation: Private stay at some friends’ place
  • Highlight: The walk through the Grund (the trench in Luxembourg City) while being surrounded by high city walls, breathing this fresh air and stopping every two minutes in order to take photos because everything is so picturesque!
Cake in the Chocolate House
Casemate holes
Pretty windows
View on Kirchberg
Luxembourg language

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