Spend New Year’s Eve in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Same procedure as every year… New Year’s Eve surprises you as it silently sneaks up on you and you start asking yourself how you are going to spend that last night of the year this time. With friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances or strangers. Staying at home or going out. Chic or relaxed. Since we had a good experience with spending New Year’s Eve in Strasbourg the previous year we picked Luxembourg as our next destination and dropped all the usual New Year’s Eve activities – you can say we celebrated an anti-New Year’s.
In order to be flexible, we drove by car to Luxembourg. Our hotel, the Hotel Novotel Suites Luxembourg, was located on the Kirchberg-Plateau not far from the city center. This chic and modern hotel won us over immediately. Again, like we already did in Strasbourg the previous year, we hit the bulls-eye concerning the accommodation. The room had a nice layout and was cozily furnished. And on top, the hotel was perfectly located for our intentions as we ought to find out later. We were all set up for an easy start.
Our exploration of the town started on the opposite site of the road, just across from the hotel. Right there you will find the Philharmonie Luxembourg and the Musée d’Art Moderne (mudam). For both sights we were content with the view from the outside and went on towards the tram to get to the city center. Luxembourg has a good public transport network and the day ticket is only 4 € per person.
The city center is divided in upper and lower town (ville haute, ville basse), and further subdivided into three parts – the shopping area, the old city center and the medieval Grund district, located in the valley below the city center. Our first stop was at the Place d’Armes with the imposing Cercle Municipal – a city palace for miscellaneous cultural events. From there we walked to the Place Guillaume II where we did not only find the tourist information and the city hall, but also a little Christmas market with an ice rink. With the frosty temperature, it gave the town a winterly glow.
As we walked further to the east we reached the Grand Ducal Palace – the official residence of the Grand Duke and probably number one on the list of the most photographed sights in Luxembourg. However, a picture of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, located south of the old city center, should not be missing on your SD-card as well. Leaving this beautiful gothic cathedral behind us we went to the Gëlle Fra – the Monument of Remembrance on the Place de la Constitution. From here you have a picturesque view on the town across the valley and down below on a park in the valley as well as on the Adolphe Bridge.
It was winter, so we decided to warm up and have a little snack at a café before we started our walk in the nicely arranged park under the Adolphe Bridge. The day started to come to an end and we were stunned by the setup of the town that is basically built in cliffs and on top of rocks. There are some hills to walk up in this town, but the way up leads you to an elevation and every elevation offers a photogenic view. Like the Chemin de la Corniche – Europe’s “most beautiful balcony”. The Corniche are trails along the cliffs. From up on top you can look at the Grund district and the Neumünster Abbey down in the valley. Another popular photo motive of the town that should not be missing on postcards and tourist cameras.
In the evening we found out about one peculiarity of Luxembourg when it was impossible to find an open restaurant. Normally restaurants are closed on Mondays in Luxembourg. However, New Year’s Eve was on a Monday that year so they picked Sunday as their day off in order to serve the obligatory New Year’s Eve dinner the following day. Our loss. So, we switched on our swag-mode, ordered pizza online and had it delivered to the hotel room. It worked and was yummy.
The second day started, after a good breakfast in the hotel, with a tram- and busride to the last location of the previous day to proceed our tour seamlessly. We got of the bus at the famous Casemates du Bock. This system of tunnels in the rocks cannot be visited in the winter month though, so we could only look at it from the outside. We walked by the EchauguetteEspagnole, which are little towers, towards Pfaffenthal. In the distance we could see the Ascenseur panoramique du Pfaffenthal (a panoramic elevator) that we did not check out further. Instead we kept walking onto Rue Sosthème Weis and crossed under the Schlassbréck bridge towards the Grund district.
From down there you have a great view on the Chemin de la Corniche. Our next stop was at the Chapelle Saint-Quirin, an old chapel built into a rock. In the background rises La Passerelle, a viaduct, that leads right back into the old city center. Back in town we warmed up with some tea and some sweets at Ladurée Luxembourg. At the end of our city exploration we went to the Neumünster Abbey again and went for a nice long walk. After that it was again difficult to find some place to eat at because all restaurants closed early to prepare for their evening events. Fortunately, we found shelter and good food at the Indépendent Café though.
Afterwards we went back to the hotel to freshen up and go to the Grand Theatre to see the Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam on New Year’s Eve. The show was called “The Dar” and was about a dance around fire. Through the combination of the stage scenery, the light effects, the music and the acrobats it quickly became a surreal experience that lasted about one hour. We mastered a worthy end of the year as well as the trip. One note on the side: there are fireworks in Luxembourg on New Year’s Eve and thanks to all the plateaus, rocks and cliffs you surely can have nice views. This time we missed the countdown to the New Year because we fell asleep. But the next New Year’s Eve is coming for sure…