A first impression.
My first visit to Luxembourg City was years ago, in 2009, but I can vividly remember that it was autumn. I went for a walk at the bottom of the Valée de la Pétrusse. The leaves were colored beautifully. Red, yellow, brown. In the background I saw the huge viaduct – the Old Bridge – and when I looked up the more elevated part of the city. Although that visit did not take long Luxembourg City left a good first impression on me.
It wasn’t until October 2018 that I would return to this special city. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, Luxembourg has three UNESCO sites. Luxembourg City is one of them. Its old quarters and fortifications that is. After Eryn and I had explored the city the three of us returned a few days later. Via Pfaffenthal, one of Luxembourg’s oldest districts that still has remnants from Roman times, we went to the city center.
2. Pescatore Park.
We arrived at Pescatore Park, where a huge building was overlooking the park. When we came a bit closer we discovered that it was a luxury home for the elderly belonging to the Pescatore Foundation. Next to it was a small monument for the victims of the battle of the Bulge. There were some water fountains. According to Eryn they were ideal for cleaning the just found chestnuts.
3. Théâtre des Capucins.
We quickly walked through some busy streets. We decided it was time for a rest. We found a perfect spot. Right in front of the Théâtre des Capucins we found a really nice outdoor playground. The cafe in front of it was ideal to watch our daughter play. We drank our tea and coffee and had some chocolate eclairs. Eryn is not fond of cakes, but she loves chocolate so I thought she might like them. Silly me! She only ate the topping off the treats.
4. Place d’Armes.
We continued our daytrip at the Place d’Armes. This square was built after the 1554 fire in the upper part of the city and after a second design in 1671 given its current name as it was used by the army to prevent the soldiers from becoming ‘lazy’.
To some this is a lively place for its many restaurants and music. During our first visit Eryn and I had enjoyed a cappuccino and hot milk at the terrace of Café de Paris, but this time we moved on to another square: Place Guillaume II.
The previous day Eryn and I had picked up a free children’s treasure hunt from the Tourist Office. It would get us around the city while answering questions. At the end we were supposed to get back to the office to get Eryn’s treasure, but we decided only to follow a bit of it. Since this treasure hunt started at the Place Guillaume II I reckoned it might be a good idea to start our walk around the city there as well.
This square used to be a place belonging to the Franciscan monks. However, after it had been occupied during the French Revolution Napoleon gave it to the city. Twenty-five years later the building of a new Town Hall started, using the remains of the monastery. In 1844 the building was presented by Guillaume II as was his statue that is supposed to dominate the square. We were not so lucky though. The first question was difficult to answer as the statue was surrounded by construction works.
6. Grand Ducal Palace.
Next on our ‘map’ was the Grand Ducal Palace that was situated only a street away. Two guards stood their ground when a group of adult treasure hunters asked them a question, following a more sophisticated hunt on their mobiles. They alternated marching and standing guard.
Apparently this is the Duke’s town residence and also the place where he spends most of his working life. Between 1572 and 1795 this impressive building was the Town Hall. As you have been able to read in my blog on Vianden, at the death of William III of the Netherlands in 1890 the Nassau-Weilberg side of the family took over the reign over Luxembourg. From that year onwards the building was exclusively reserved to the Grand Duke and his family. On its balcony one can see Luxembourg’s ensign: a lion.
The first time I was in Luxembourg City I intended to go to the Casemates. No such luck. I did not have enough time. This time I wanted to give it another try. According to the helpful man working at the Tourist Office this was one of the things you could do with young children. But again we ran out of luck. We had squeezed in too many things to see in one day. Hopefully we can make it inside the next time we come here.
At the end of a long day we walked via the Notre Dame Cathedral to the Gëlle Fra. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to stay near the Notre Dame for long. This 17th century old building was originally a Jesuit church. It is now Roman Catholic and the only cathedral in Luxembourg.
We walked on towards an open space with a parking lot and a golden statue standing tall above everything else. Gëlle Fra means ‘golden lady’ in Luxembourgish. It actually represents Nike, goddess of victory. At the bottom of the obelisk she stands on is another statue with two soldiers, one deceased and the other one mourning.
As most toddlers our daughter was too young to understand so she kept on climbing onto the bottom statue. The monument was built in 1923 and is here to commemorate the Luxembourgish soldiers who volunteered during WOI, WOII and the Korean War.
10. Vallée de la Pétrusse.
Just before we went back we looked down into the Vallée de la Pétrusse. The same valley I had been walking in years before. The viaduct still looked huge. The trees in the valley were starting to change color.
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