We enjoyed a quick visit to Luxembourg City as a stopover on our way to Switzerland. It was a quiet, charming city with beautiful views. I don’t know if it was just good timing, or if it is always like this, but the city felt so calm and quiet to me. I really enjoyed it.
What We Did
We arrived in Luxembourg City late in the afternoon on October 31 (2016). Halloween! We were staying in the Barrio Grund district. After getting settled in the hotel, we walked around this neighborhood before dinner. It was calm and quiet, and dark and briskly cool. Perfect for a Halloween evening walk, especially along cobbled old streets, surrounded by old architecture. Unfortunately, I did something wonky with the camera and none of my night pictures turned out even remotely in focus.
Halloween is not a traditionally celebrated holiday in Belgium, though it is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its commercialization. I suspect that it is also not traditionally celebrated in Luxembourg, based on the absence of any decorations or revelers that night.
We ate dinner at the Updown Bar. Upon the recommendation of the bartender, I had a locally made cider, Ramborn’s “original” cider, and really enjoyed it. The service was great, despite there being a large private party taking place in the Bar. The bartender told us it was a movie wrap party. It was the only sign of livelihood we saw or heard in the city that night.
The City of Luxembourg is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its “old quarters and fortifications.” With our short time available in the city on our second day, we took in the view of the old town and fortifications from the Cité Judiciaire.
I was surprised to pass a bookstore window with a display dedicated to the (at the time) upcoming U.S. Presidential election. A whole display of books about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Given that the election was just a week away, the display was timely, but it still surprised me because we were in this small city, in this small country, what felt like worlds away from the U.S. I had this realization of, oh man, the whole world really is watching what we are doing in the U.S. They care.
It’s not that I didn’t already know that to be the case, but seeing that display really struck a chord. I have had countless experiences since then that reconfirm how much the rest of the world is paying attention to U.S. news and politics, but that will have to be another discussion on another day.
Once at the Casemates, we toured the fortress tunnels and archaeological crypt, and enjoyed the beautiful views.
We ate a nice lunch at Urban before leaving the city in the afternoon. With just our overnight stay, we of course missed a lot of what Luxembourg has to offer.
What We Missed
Luxembourg has many museums, bridges, cathedrals and churches. I am sure we would have enjoyed any or all of them. Top among the things we missed is the Luxembourg American Cemetery, a World War Two cemetery that is the final resting place and memorial for over 5,000 American military dead, including General George S. Patton.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in La Pipistrelle Hotel, a beautiful B&B hotel with only four rooms. We had the Grand-Duc Jean suite, perfect for our small family. The hotel was beautiful and the service was great. Some of the rock walls made it feel as though the hotel was built right into the fortress and mountain upon which it sits. Unfortunately, we had a lot of street noise coming from the bar patio directly under our window at night. Remember that movie wrap party we heard about from our bartender at dinner? We were right next door and above it! Of course, this is not the hotel’s fault, but something to be mindful of when booking.
Luxembourg City was beautiful in the Fall. I loved its calm, quiet atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Though quite hilly, it is a city best seen on foot if you really want to appreciate its charm and character. I would visit again in a heartbeat, especially for a nice weekend getaway.