Luxembourg, one of Europe’s smallest and richest countries, does not typically top the list of travelers’ wish lists. But with a three-day bank holiday weekend to spare and impossibly cheap fares for direct flights from London’s City Airport (which is, for us, London’s most conveniently located airport), we set our sights on the grand duchy’s eponymous capital city. We stayed at the Hotel Parc Beaux Arts in Luxembourg City’s Ville Haute, the fortified town core that offers grand views of the lower-lying areas of the city and the surrounding forests.
After a quick lunch to recharge we oriented ourselves with a visit to the Bock, the rocky formation upon which the city’s fortification were built. The views from here are fantastic, with the stately buildings of the Old City behind, the diminutive River Alzette sparkling below, and, fortunately in our case, wide, blue, sunny skies above! We took a route down toward the Grund—the low-lying area to the southeast of the old city surrounded on most sides by the weaving river. From here the view up back toward Ville Haute is picturesque, especially with the river to reflect it. We took a seat for a moment in the large square on the north side to appreciate the architecture and enjoy the nice weather. After strolling through the area some more we grabbed the convenient elevator by the Rue Münster bridge (make sure to take in the view as you cross!) back up to the old city.
We emerged from the elevator in Saint-Esprit square at the south of the old city and slowly made our way back toward the hotel, wandering the small streets at will. Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the city’s top sights and well worth a visit with its beautiful stained glass and mix of architectural styles from the 17th through the 20th centuries. We also stumbled on a smaller and more humble church—Paroisse Protestante Francophone—where we took a seat with no one else in our company. We continued on to Place Guillaume II and Place d'Armes, the two big squares in the center of the Ville Haute, in the latter of which we grabbed orange and vanilla and coffee gelato from Eiscafe Veneziano. The sky quickly darkened at this point and we got back to our hotel just in time to watch from a giant thunderstorm envelop the city from the safety of our room. The storm did not deter the hundreds of runners that participated in that evening's “night marathon.” We fought through the crowds for dinner at Onesto (gnocchi for Rico and spaghetti carbonara for Britt) and then hung out by the Bock for the rest of the night.
Our second day started with a day trip to Trier, Germany which we’ll showcase in an upcoming blog post! We got back to Luxembourg in the evening when we made the hindsight-is-20-20 decision to have cake for dinner at the famous Chocolate House. Rico had the carrot cake with hazelnut caramel hot chocolate and Britt had a brownie with 60% cocoa hot chocolate. With heavy stomachs we slogged over to Place d'Armes where we were surprised with a live concert in the square! We ended the night yet again by the Bock, talking about life while overlooking the Grund.
Our last day brought consistent heavy rainfall but we brightened it up with some pastries from Kaempff-Kohler for breakfast. We took our time in the morning, enjoying some lazy time around the hotel before making our way outside where we wandered around the Grund again. We searched high and low (quite literally, both in the Grund and Ville Haute) for a souvenir, but to no avail as most shops were closed Mondays. We split bruschetta and a salami pizza at Delirio Culinario for lunch and then, just as the rain really started picking up, walked around trying to find the bus back to the airport. With soaked clothes and backpacks we finally found the bus and soon thereafter hopped on our flight back to London. While Luxembourg City isn’t a typical tourist spot, we really enjoyed our time there and would recommend it to anyone that has a few days to spare in the area.