Historic City Center, Luxembourg
Place d'Armes a.k.a “Parlour of the City” is the center of the city and meeting point for everyone. Here can be found tons of cafes, shops and of course tourists. According the plans of Sebastian van Noyen from Utrecht it became true in 1671 when Jean Charles de Landas had been ruler. And why to pay people for decorating when French Army should do that as witty Louis XIV got this idea. The French Army paved the square and planted trees that the square should be a great place for parades and other cultural events. Nowadays there is a street animation all the summer and a lot of other cultural actions around ...
Dent Creuse or "Hollow Tooth" is the only remain of an old castle which was once the cradle of the city of Luxembourg. The castle and its fortifications were built in 965 by Count Siegfried de Lorraine.
From here you can enjoy panoramic views of the Rham Plateau, the Kirchberg Plateau and the lower town with its districts of Grund and Clausen.
The ruin of Dent Creuse is located on the rock Bock, which can be found on the way from the city centre to the district of Clausen.
The Rham Plateau is a high ground on the right bank of the river Alzette. It offers brilliant views of the Alzette valley and the Walls of Corniche.
At the northern end of the Rham Plateau the Tower of Jacob can be found. It is an old town gate whose history dates back to the 16th century.
Among other buildings the Rham Plateau is also home to a water tower from the middle of the 19th century.
The Rham Plateau is situated east of the city centre and it is part of the "Wenceslas Circular Walk".
The Bock Casemates are a network of underground fortifications, which were built in the middle of the 17th century. The original tunnels were about 23 km long and could shelter thousands of soldiers and their horses.
The Bock Casemates and fortifications are listed as UNESCO World Heritage site and also gave Luxembourg its nickname "Gibraltar of the North".
The Bock Casmates are situated in the Bock which is a rock inbetween the districts of Grund and Clausen.
Parliament is situated right next to the Ducal Palace. In Luxembourg the Grand Duke can override any decision made by government and parliament. There is a single chamber parliament. The chairman of parliament and the prime minister meet with the Grand Duke every week so that problems can be solved in advance. Therefore it is rare that the Grand Duke will override a decision.
The German flag is in front of the parliament because some German official is visiting.
You can read more about the constituency of Luxembourg at the link below.
The old fortress was built by Count Siegfried in 963, the remains of the old fortress could be seen very visible in the middle of Luxembourg. In 1994 UNESCO listed them as World Heritage and now, it attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Do you believe tourists would behave differently while visiting a hectic city and a quieter one ? I do.
This is what I noticed while taking pictures of Palais Grand Ducal and it made sense.
With my parents, we were looking at the facade, moving around, still impressed and a little amazed how centrally located this Palais was, when I noticed there were tourists trying to adjust the lenses to catch te best view on the building. I hadn't noticed them immediately. It was only when I tried to adjust my own lenses and that I saw them in my visual field that I noticed I was not the only one taking pictures. They were Japanese and probably German.
I think I haven't noticed them as I easily spotted the noisy tourists on Place de la Bastille in Paris because the Palais area was quiet, no cars running neither horning. So, quite naturally, one tends to respect this quietness.
It changed me a lot from the hectic, laughing, noisy crowds on Place de la Bastille. I had to elbow my way there.
Just to the southeast of the Place d'Armes, is the much larger place Guillaume II. The center of the square is dominated by a wide open space except for the equestrian statue of William II. You'll also find some interesting architecture here as well as easy access to the Cathedrale Notre Dame. Toward the southwest corner of the square, you'll find the Hotel de Ville.
I just wish the central space of the square had more benches or trees. It's almost too exansive and needs something to fill it up.
The Place d'Armes is known by the locals as the sitting room of Luxembourg.
Its a lovely square in the old town with a variety of restaurants and pubs, with seating outside, making for a pleasant dining experience especially on nice summer evenings.
Place d'Armes is located right by the tourist office, so it will be quite easy to find.
We had a few drinks on the square and it was very very relaxing, its perfect for those who like people watching, all that creating a very nice atmosphere.
Of the two main squares in the Old Town, I prefer the more intimate surroundings of Place d'Armes. The sloping rectangular space has plenty of shade-throwing trees, cafes, shops and most importantly people to make you feel at home. Children use the middle of the square to run around and play and the small size makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on them from not too far away while they sip on a drink or two. The eastern edge of the square (on the higher side) is dominated by the Palais Municipal which is an early 20th century structure which now houses the tourist information office.
Although Luxembourg's Vielle Ville is not really so very old there are some interesting architectural twirls, turrets and twiddles. It's worth keeping an eye open as you wander round...make sure you look up.
I particularly liked the way some older houses had their date of construction in huge metal numbers fixed to the exterior.
Even if the building dates from the late 1800s, there are often interesting embellishments..pretty blue & white tiles high up near the roof, a beautiful oriel window.....
And, if you walk in the side-streets, just occasionally you can get a glimpse of how Medieval Luxembourg must have looked before the building of the 1800s.
One can enjoy a very nice day just strolling about the old city center of Luxembourg. There are excellent views of the city's upper and lower parts, fine architecture, and plenty of shops and cafes. You don't really need to be going anywhere in particular.
Many of Luxembourg's best sites are crammed into the streets that sit atop its highest sandstone cliffs in the centre of the city. Here among the tight, crowded streets that crisscross the flattened stone, you will find the fine Saint Michael's Church, the Grand Ducal Palace, as well as two of the country's greatest museums: the national History and Art Museum and the City Museum. In addition there is plenty of great shopping to be had, as you'd expect in the capital of the world's wealthiest country. You can also take breaks between spending money in one of the many cafes and restaurants that dot the small streets.
The Fortress Luxembourg was at one time known as the "Gibraltar of the North." It had a triple wall with 23 kilometers of interconnecting tunnels (or casemates). Today, not much of this fortress remains, except around the central city. Here you will clearly find the strong walls built on steep cliffs above the Alzette River.
Luxembourg once had some of the most awesome fortifications in the world, and tearing them down was the condition the Great Powers of the XIX century gave to Luxembourg for recognizing its independence. (They were afraid they could fall into the hands of their adversaries.)
Citizens gladly obliged, but the casemates and some remnants remain to this day and can be visited.