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Full Day in Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: This city has completely surprised us. It is so lovely. Such a blend of cultures, languages and religions, seeming to be living in complete harmony? Is this possible?

Town waking up
Skate board shop window

After breakfast in our hotel (included in our room rate) breakfast buffet, we went to visit the City of Luxembourg Art Museum. This museum is just behind our hotel in a huge city park and is housed in a mansion once owned by the architect of nearly every major building or bridge or viaduct built in Luxembourg, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), the principal architect of Louis XIV. (Seriously, Vauban is everywhere in Luxembourg.)

As a visitor enters the museum, they are treated to a temporary exhibition of digital recreation of several paintings in the gallery - Nicaise de Keyser, Head of Old Man, 1841, and Louis-Aime Groselavde, Portrait of Jean-Pierre Pescator,1844, and an amazing floral painting that explodes on screen:

There was an exhibit of Dominque Lang (1874-1919) one of the most famous painters in Luxembourg. His collection was recently expanded, due to donations from local wealthy collectors, at the Musee d'Art de la Ville in Luxembourg. Some pieces are available to the public for the first time, so this collection was widely welcomed. (Photos not allowed.) The park surrounding the museum has so many art installations and beautiful gardens:

Art in the Park
The Park

After our visit to the city art museum, we went to the Schueberfouer in Glacis Square. This festival, started as an annual agricultural exhibit in 1340 (yes, I said 1340!) to celebrate St. Bartholomew Day (August 24th) has continued FOREVER and is now a huge two week carnival. Today was the final day of the celebration, and a huge fireworks extravaganza was scheduled.

The Schueberfouer
The Schueberfouer poster at the bus stop

Then it was time for our walking tour of Luxembourg arranged through the city tourism office. We have figured-out our route to the main part of the old town by walking from our hotel along the butterfly street and we turn Left at Louis (left at the Louis Vuitton store):


Our walking tour began in front of City Hall (Hotel de Ville).

Luxembourg City Hall
City Hall flies the Ukrainian flag!

I think we lucked-out with our tour guide today. He is retired from the Luxembourg national orchestra as a violinist. He has played all over the world and in every concert hall and church in Luxembourg. He has met the Duke of Luxembourg several times during performances, and told us several fun stories about his interactions with the Duke. Really, why be King, when you can be the Duke of Luxembourg? Small country. No military service required. The military has only one plane (and I think it went to Morocco today loaded with earthquake relief supplies). Peaceful country.

During our walking tour today we learned about the complicated history of this small country - how it went back and forth from Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, and who-knows to eventually become sovereign after World War II. Except, this country has it going on. Women were given the vote one year before American women.

William II

Lots of Williams leading Luxembourg! I learned today, generally, if the left leg of a horse is raised in a statue in an European square, it signifies the rider died in his bed, instead of in battle. Now you know.

Royal Palace

The right side of this building is the Royal Palace... but of course, the Royal family no longer reside here. It is open to the public several months in the spring. The two kiosks outside the palace hold guards (just like Buckingham Palace, except only two dudes) and they do have a "changing of the guards" ceremony which we missed, but our guide said we didn't miss much.

Royal Palace

At the far end of the palace is the parliament. At the top are two statues representing "we are governed by the crown" and "we are governed by the law" - left & right.

Next, our wonderful guide took us through several churches (and we visited the crypts of a few dead Dukes) and then we continued to downtown... only because the town is way down below the cliff from the main part of Luxembourg.

Down Town - with the original city fortress above

Many people wanted to live down town because a small river/creek flowed through, but it was more apt to be attacked (were people always attacking each other?). Happily for Luxembourg, Louis XIV had his architect Vauban, build all sorts of forts, towers, viaducts, churches and roads, and Luxembourg remains one of the most beautiful and protected cities in Europe to this day.

Later, we went to dinner, then enjoyed the fireworks celebrating the final night of the festival.

Tuna with tomatoes
Smoked Salmon appetizer

Until my next update, I remain, your Luxembourgian correspondent.

Pedometer: 17,000 steps. Ugh. It was so hot here today.

One thought

  1. Thank you for your well-written beautifully documented itinerary. I have read your blog for years and years and realized that I have taken it for granted; your photos and writings are always so well done and interesting. We have spent time in Paris and Luxembourg but never delved as deeply as you have. Keep up the good work and enjoy.

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