Saturday, 28 July 2012

Eric's Uninformed Travel Tips: Luxembourg Edition

Well, it's hot as hell in Paris today...I'm a bit hungover, and in short, I find myself dragging my heels this morning to get out and face the day...a perfect blogging scenario.

In case you didn't check the date stamp on this post, it is currently July (almost August) yet my plan is to write about a trip we went on in January...This is partially because I actually hope that to some level people are actually interested in my writing...but mostly it is because if I don't write my thoughts down I am 99% sure I will have completely forgotten the trips we have taken in 2-3 years.

For those of you (I hope there are enough of you to qualify as "those" and not just "you") who have been following my recent posts on my photo blog (2 of them!), you will know that I have started documenting our travels this year.  1 part takes place on the aforementioned Photo Blog ( and the other takes place here in the form of "Eric's Uninformed Travel Tips".  So prepare to be dazzled and amazed...or at least mildly entertained and slightly caught off guard...

First a few points on where we went in January 2012. I should note that all info is based on travel from Paris, France, as will be all info I give in the future too...It's where I live...

January trip(s) : Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg, The city that thought this statue was a good idea...
Dates of Trip: January 27-29, 2012.
How did we get there: Train, about 2.5hrs from Paris tickets about 120 Euros each return.
Where did we stay: Hotel Novotel...this was actually normally an expensive place but we got a really good deal...75 Euro/night.

For those that don't know anything about Luxembourg...for shame!  But don't worry, I will try to explain some of the highlights.

Luxembourg City is the capital and really, the only city in Luxembourg, a duchy located north east of Paris and crammed between Belgium, France and Germany.  I would say that culturally they lean more toward the French side of things than the German though, and certainly the primary language we heard and used there was French.  Although officially their languages are French, German and Luxembourgish (yeah...I was surprised too).

Luxembourg is also one of the three cities that host the administrative arms of the EU (Can you guess the other two?).

And finally, Luxembourg City is known for its interesting geography.  The entire city is actually built on a canyon with some parts on both the upper and lower levels.  This made for some incredible views from the upper levels along the canyons.

Our personal experience was that Luxembourg was beautiful, if not a bit sleepy.  However, we did visit in January, and I suspect that if we were there in tourism season there would have been quite a few more people.  Being there at off times did permit us a very cool experience however, as it often felt like we had the whole town to the point where we went to visit a historic fort and found it closed and unattended...So being the fine upstanding tourists that we are, we simply climbed over the unattended castle for several hours and were never bothered by a soul.  This is still one of the most unique travel experiences I have had as usually any tourist attraction is an anthill of tourists at all times.

We were not supposed to be here
 The city center, which was located on a plateau, housed the ducal palace and many great restaurants, while the areas on the outside rim around the canyon had most of the shopping (this is also where our hotel, and the train station were), finally the base of the canyon (called Grund) was the location of most of the bars...although I must admit we didn't really sample the nightlife (Juls and I were both actually sick as dogs during this trip). We have since heard that the nightlife in Luxembourg City is supposed to be pretty great, so maybe we will have to return to see for ourselves.

People in the city were fairly nice however not the warm niceness we as Canadians take for granted...overall I would rate them on a 6-6.5/10 on the nice-o-meter.  In terms of language, unless you can speak Luxembourgish, I would suggest reviewing your French or German...People did usually have some English knowledge, but like in France, they are more accommodating if you speak in French (even if its bad French).

We found the hop-on-hop-off buses quite useful as the local transit options were pretty limited.  Although, in truth, given an hour you could walk from one end of the city to the other as it is not very big...

We found our time in Luxembourg City to be entertaining, however overall we both commented that we felt a trip any longer than a few days would have been too much, and felt satisfied with the time we allotted to the trip.  If you were going to get out into the countryside however, I think you could extend your stay as it has some beautiful, wooded, high country vistas that would be worth exploring.

So, how does it rate?

Affordability: Summer 3/10 (we have been told it's quite expensive in summer), Winter 7/10 (great deals to be had!)
Entertainment: 5/10 good for only 2-3 days
Ease of travel: 8/10 direct train from Paris, Gare du nord

Overall: 5/10, not a must see, but if you have an extended trip it may be worth a stopover...if only to see the penis fort!

Tee hee!