I’ve spent two days in Luxembourg in back in May. I wanted to go there for two reasons. First, I am in love with the idea of tiny countries and uncommon places like Luxemburg. Did you know that they have their own language? A lot of their population is made up of French commuters who live just outside of the Luxemburg border which is why French is the language they speak commonly. Second, and I’ll be honest, I was ticking off places off a map. I was taking a few days to visit Brussels so I figured I might as well extend my trip a couple of days and check off Luxemburg off my list too.
I hope it’s because I had no expectations of the place, but it blew me away. Kind of the opposite of Paris syndrome. The city itself was beautiful. I just read that the city of Luxembourg is known as the "Green Heart of Europe" because of its lush greenery. I, on the other hand, describe it as an uneventful fairytale. The old French architecture is charming. The city surrounds a valley that is one giant green park, hence "Green Heart of Europe". As you walk around it, you see old castle wall ruins, combined with an amazing landscape. Although I was here for only two days, I found myself in love with this charming city. Maybe, because it didn’t feel like a city at all.
Vallé de la Pétrusse
After settling into my hostel, Luxembourg City Hostel to be exact, I went talking around the city. I ended up strolling Vallé de la Pétrusse. It's an amazing valley that's been turned into a park. It's extremely scenic, it's the reason Luxembourg is my favourite city. There are no words to describe the park so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I took a very long walk around the water stream that eventually took to me a river, past the beautiful St. Jean du Grund and to the Bock Casemates. East of Vallé de la Pétrusse the valley continues and the views get even more spectacular. The old castle ruins, the churches with the tall peaks, and the whole lot of buildings sitting along the hillside is beautiful to look at.
Count Siegfried build his Castle of Lucilinburhuc in 963 at the current site of The Bock; it's also the oldest history of the proper Luxembourg Kingdom. It served over so many centuries as a defense to the Kingdom of Luxembourg from various attacks throughout history. It has been rebuilt a good number of times as well; nothing can take over thousands of years of history lightly. the Burgundians, Habsburgs, Spaniards, Prussians and French all succeeded at attacking Luxembourg and taking over the reigns. The Treaty of London, signed in 1867, required the fortress to be obliterated the fortress. Today, the ruins of the old castle, the fortification and a bunch of underground tunnels are referred to as the Bock Casemates, as a whole. It's a beautiful and historical sight that I recommend visiting if you're in Luxembourg. It really makes the city magical, and unique.
Luxembourg City History Museum
In the afternoon, I have visited the Luxembourg City History Museum by sheer coincidence. I was walking around the city, aimlessly if I may add, and I came about a beautiful glass facade that said Museum on it. So I went in. The lady let me in for free because I looked like a student which was nice of her. The Museum was pretty cool. It has wooden carvings of the city as time goes on from 963 to today. Unfortunately, there was a strict policy of no photos at the museum so I was only able to snap the following two pictures very quickly while the security was around the corner. Seriously, though, museums in Europe are all about no photos unless permitted whereas in the USA it's the opposite. I've heard people say it harms the art, specifically the use of flash photography which is complete and utter bullshit. Okay, rant over.
Until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was under the French rule. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna gave Luxembourg back its autonomy. In 1819, a British contemporary described Luxembourg as the strongest fortifications in Europe. In 1830, Luxembourg joined the Belgians in the Belgian revolution against the Dutch. During the revolutions, much of Luxembourg was considered a new Belgian state. As you can see in a span of two decades a lot has happened for Luxembourg. And there is a written record of history going back to the Roman Empire when Julius Caesar invaded the area. Actually, there is evidence of humans living in the area going back to the Old Stone Age which was over 35,000 years ago.
Alright back in 1839, there was a Treaty of London that gave Luxembourg back its sovereignty. The French-speaking areas of the country were given to Belgium. The rest of the state was predominantly German but still with significant French culture. It wasn't till 1867 that Luxembourg received its actual and full independence, though. Such a small country with such amazing and rich history, don't you think?
Following the few hours I spent walking around the museum and learning about its wars and kings, I proceeded to go out into the city, again, aimlessly. I do remember being hungry and trying to find something to eat. I was nervous though because I don't speak French. In high school, I took two years of French but I retained absolutely nothing.
I walked into Konrad's Cafe because it had a sign outside with the menu written in English. Turns out the staff did, in fact, speak English so I hung out there for a bit. It was a very eclectic joint. I saw some bros studying, the staff was friendly, the decor, well, was cute. Even a couple of men seemed like they too were on a lunch break. All in all, it was a good spot with decent WiFi and a really aesthetic sandwich!
Ënnert de Steiler
Ënnert de Steiler is the oldest bar in Luxembourg. The building was built in 1350. Yes, that's the 14th century. I must Google if this bar makes oldest top 10 in Europe maybe... Nope, the top 5 oldest bars according to Bucket List Bars are among Ireland and England. I wonder if you noticed but in most of my photos, there are absolutely no people. There were not too many people in Luxembourg. Barely any. I don't know why; I there was during some festival that was going on in the city (come to think of it maybe it was a holiday and they all peaced out to France and Germany?). I was also there during the week; I'm not sure how that effects their crows or lack there of.
Talking a walk at night
For this section I'm just going to say do it. The city is beautiful, it has an amazing landscape and gorgeous old buildings. It's very well lit. It's kind of romantic actually. Check it out!
Place de la Constitution
The second day was charming too. I took a stroll from my hostel and wondered around the city. I walked through the old city center by Place d'Armes and Square Jan Palach towards my first stop: the Place de la Constitution. It overlooks the valley but I did not walk all the way down this time. At this point street cleared of festivities the previous day as well. I hung around the Palace for a little while, partly to enjoy the view and partly to finally sit down and jot things down in my journal.
Place Emile Hamilius
I had the hardest time looking up the name of this but on Google Maps and Luxembourg's tourist map it's called Place Emile Hamilius. What I'm trying to name is this bus station terminal. I want to write about it because there are underground tunnels that are filled with graffiti art, good graffiti art. I was walking past it and saw the entrances to the underpasses/tunnels were covered in graffiti. It was unexpected. But, it turned out really well. I got a bunch of amazing photos and I did feel inspired at the end. Most of the graffiti is intact too which is impressive. From what I am used to, someone is bound to show up quickly and tag a wall over the original art. (I don't know why this happens, it just goes from what I've noticed.)
Edouard André Municipal Park
The city park is actually in the shape of the arc that’s divided by a few avenues, including avenue Monterey, the avenue Émile Reuter, and the avenue de la Porte-Neuve. Fun fact: the southernmost part of the park is called the Edmund Klein Park. The park divides the old and main city center from the rest of Luxembourg, at least on the west side. The Treaty of London, which I did mention briefly before, called for the demolition of the Luxembourg fortress and in its place this giant, green park was built. It was built by an Englishman called Edouard André who loved greenery. The park is truly large and definitely, is one reason why Luxembourg is dubbed the Green Heart of Europe. There are so many parks here!
In the park itself, there is a life-size wooden pirate ship that’s now made into a playground. I was able to snap a photo of it; the thing is simply epic. There is also the Villa Louvigny which houses the headquarters of the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion. In 1962 and 1966, they hosted Eurovision in that building. Currently an art Museum, the Villa Vauban houses a lot of art from the 18th and 19th centuries.
A private garden by a river
I don't know how legal this is because I don't know whether this was a private yard. But, I did want to save this little spot for last. It's small tiny garden adjacent to where the Péitruss river flows into the Alzette. It was actually the highlight of Luxembourg for me because it was hidden away from everything, aka private. Like I said, I don't know the laws of Luxembourg to say this was alright but I saw a gate leading to a garden from the street. I walked towards it to get a better photo of the rivers and it turned out to be an unlocked private garden. Actually, the view of the rivers was pretty bad. There was a short wall and the river itself was not that aesthetic for a photo; I didn't mind, not everything is about them Instagrams. I found a secret oasis, I was excited by my find.
There were a couple of benches in the middle of the small grassed areas. Around the living walls were some wielding roses too. I sat down for a bit, maybe 20 min, to appreciate the garden. The water did make beautiful, running noises so I did stick around a bit to listen to it as well. I love finding places like these, places that are either hidden or just out of the way. Although there weren't that many people while I was in Luxembourg, to begin with, I'm sure it would have made a great gateway if there were other people around.
I'm sure it's alright to stop by and sit down for a bit as long as no one is obnoxious or trying to break in if it's locked. You know, be respectful.
Luxembourg City Hostel · 2 Rue du Fort Olisy, 2261 Luxembourg
Vallé de la Pétrusse · Vallée de la Pétrusse, 1212 Luxemburgo Cidade
Bock Casemates · 10 Montée de Clausen, 1343 Luxembourg
Luxembourg City History Museum · 14 Rue du St Esprit, 2090 Luxembourg
Konrad Café & Bar · 7 r. du Nord, 2229 Luxemburg
Ënnert de Steiler · 2 Rue de la Loge, 1945 Luxembourg
Square Jan Palach · Square Jan Palach, 2312 Luxembourg
Place de la Constitution · Place de la Constitution, 1143 Luxembourg
Place Emile Hamilius · Place Emile Hamilius, 2449 Luxembourg
Edouard André Municipal Park · 38 Boulevard Joseph II, 1840 Luxembourg
Secret garden · 39 Rue Saint Ulric, 2651 Luxembourg
I am a freelance web designer who documents her travels with photos and words via Black Journal. Additionally, I work with small companies that want to re-brand their online businesses to create products that change lives of their customers all in the hopes of gaining more customers and retaining their current ones longer.