For those who don’t know it, Lëtzeburg is the local name of Luxembourg, the capital of the Grand-Duchy bearing the same name.
Despite it being nearby (closer than Paris even) I’ve never visited it. But last Thursday, I did!
After 4 hours in the train, the neo-baroque Gare de Luxembourg is a welcoming sight, and was inviting enough to walk around in it for a while (to stretch my legs, 4 hours in a train is long!). The stained glass in the grand hall looked nice, but the restrooms have a tourniquet thing that’s € 0,60 for urinals and € 1,10 for a toilet… which I think is a lot. There’s also a tourist office where you can get a city map (available in 4 languages).
The hotel I booked was right opposite the station square, the Best Western International ****, purely for the location and the affordable price for a single room during the week . Room 511 is a Deluxe Single and may be small, it still offered everything I could possible need (plus a hairdryer!). This room is on the side of the building, and has double glazed windows, so most of the noise of the station square is muffled .
For more info, check the TripAdvisor comment I made.
About 15 minutes later I already found myself near the World War I memorial, which is where you need to turn right to head to the Place d’Armes, one of the 2 central squares. All the streets in this area are filled with shops, be it boutiques, international chains or couture: it’s there. The next several hours were purely devoted to windowshopping, fitting and the occasional coffee.
Most prominent of all these are shoe shops. There’s loads of them and the various brands offer a tempting mix between German crazyness with French style and Italian finesse… so much more variation in styles than what we got over here, so in short: it’s awesomesauce!
Sadly, I didn’t fetch me any as Luxembourg no longer has the reputation to be “less expensive” than Belgium. I had to limit myself to drooling over a pair of Dsquared boots and alike, as prices here are roughly similar to ours. Same goes for restaurants. We found out about that later that day when we had dinner at Carpini Restaurant (not included on the website yet, it’s located at the Place the Paris n° 27) where the smoked salmon was really good, and quite a bit larger than what you’d usually get over here. So once again it proved to be a mix of something German (size of portions) with something French (very tasty food).
After dinner the rainy weather pretty much forced me to return to my hotel and watch a bit of TV before turning in, not that I minded as my feet craved a bit of rest, knowing the following day would bring more of the same.
Breakfast came too early to my liking the next day, but wanting to get the most out of the day I had set the alarm at 7am. The buffet at the Best Western offered loads of choice, and I have to say I indulged on it a bit. Half an hour later I was already checking out, leaving my luggage at the reception to pick up later.
Having done the shops the previous day, my focus moved to the cultural sites that are all within walking distance of each other. Sifting out the ones I had already encountered during my window shopping spree I soon found myself around some of the UNESCO World Heritage fortification sites.
If you follow one of the routes on the City Promenade map (which you can get at the Tourist Office in the train station) you’ll pass by the MNHA (the National Museum for History and Art). It has 10 floors covering local prehistoric finds, the Roman era, Medieval times and the various arts of the last centuries. The top floor houses temporary exhibitions, and currently has one about Raoul Dufy. Thanks to a little card I fetched at the hotel I got a free gift, which turned out to be any post card to my liking (I grabbed one of a painting with fauns, you know how much I liked myths right?).
Those 10 floors may have been tricky to accomplish before lunch, but I made sure I would arrive at 10 am, and a bit after 12 pm I was ready to grab a bite. While searching for a place I passed the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which at first seems more as a church with cathedral status. Here and there some nice stained glass windows can be seen, the crypt houses the Grand-Ducal mausoleum, and there’s a cemetary with some art round the back.
Lunch I found back at the Place d’Armes at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Chi-Chi’s. It’s a nice place, a bit busy perhaps but there’s 2 floors and when the main floor is too busy you can take the stairs up. My Taco Fajita salad with porc was tasty, and a pepsi comes in a pint, so I call this a good experience!
After lunch there wasn’t much time left as I wanted to catch a train early in the afternoon so I wouldn’t be home too late in the evening. About 4 hours later, I dove into my sofa, put my feet up on the table and was satisfied with lots of impressions about the cultural hub that is Lëtzeburg.