“Erm, where exactly is Luxembourg?”
This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most, whenever I tell someone that I live in Luxembourg. For the record, this teeny tiny country (it’s one of the smallest countries in Europe and the world!) is slap bang in the middle of France, Belgium and Germany. The next question I usually get is ‘why are you living there?’ Closely followed by ‘no offence meant’!
I moved to the city of Luxembourg in June 2013 as I was offered a contract there with my existing company. I had always wanted to travel and Luxembourg seemed like the perfect opportunity; it wasn’t so far that I would be hours away from my family and friends but it seemed different enough that I would get to experience living outside of Ireland.
My then fiance; (he proposed a week before I left Ireland….. must have been worried about the lure of the Luxembourgish men!) — was incredibly supportive so I packed up my things and two flights later (there were no direct flights from Dublin to Luxembourg at the time), I was there!
I travelled back to Dublin at least once a month to see my fiance and to keep me in a steady supply of Barry’s tea (the red ones!) and Tayto crisps. I was really enjoying living and working in my new city and had settled into my new job so well that I was the unofficial social event organiser! An opportunity came up to work there permanently, which I was really keen to do but I needed to convince ‘yer man’. Thankfully, every time he visited me in Lux, the weather was absolutely amazing and the city looked beautiful. Hilariously, when we moved over for good in March 2015, it was the worst weather we had ever experienced, even in Ireland, which felt a little onminous!
I hope to use this blog to introduce you to all that Luxembourg has to offer; it’s amazing scenery, the vast number of cafes, bars and restaurants and the many events that happen throughout the year. I’ll also share local and not so local recipes, tell you where to go to get the best flammeküeche and where not to go, so you can avoid the worst pizza!
There is a lot more to Luxembourg than people think; when our families and friends visit, they are always surprised to see that Lux is more than just a ginormous bank. The capital city, also called Luxembourg, has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and once you visit the city it’s easy to see why. The city itself is a beautiful marriage of green spaces, beautiful old buildings and shiny office blocks.
^One of my favourite places in Lux City
The city centre is also home to the Grand Duke’s Palace, where the Duke and his family live when they are in town. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that it’s right across the street from ‘The Chocolate Shop’, which serves HUGE slices of delicious cakes and arguably, some of the best ‘chocolat chaud’ in the country.
^The Grand Duke’s palace….right in the centre of the Old City
^Saturday afternoon shopping on Grand Rue
The city is set on several levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two gorges.
^A fantastic viewing platform, just a few minutes stroll from the Grand Rue
^The always stylish Kasia and myself having a Sunday afternoon wander around the city
The bottom level is called Ville Basse and you can wander down to it through glorious scenery and meandering pathways but remember……what goes down must go up! But don’t worry if you’re feeling lazy or tired or even both; there are two lifts, which takes you from the lower level back to the top. The second of these lifts just opened a couple of months ago and it’s a fantastic way to get a bird’s eye view of the lower city.
Ville Basse is a stunning area, surrounded by old fortress walls, with the Alzette river running through it. This whole area is so photogenic in every season and I can’t wait to show you the changing landscape throughout the year.
^The view of Ville Basse from Ville Haute
The city is a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures; the people from Luxembourg are called ‘Luxembourgers’ and the population is about 600,000 people. However, during the week, almost 200,000 people commute to Luxembourg every day from France, Germany and Belgium. There are three official languages: French, German, and the national language, which is Luxembourgish. Thankfully, English is also widely spoken here as, despite on-going French lessons, I’m pretty sure my attempts at French hurt a lot of ears!
^A typical Luxembourgish welcome….’Moien’ means ‘Hello’
There are also large Italian and Portuguese populations here, not to mention a lots of English and of course, us Irish folk. All of those different nationalities means great food, great people and lots of different languages to get to grips with!
There are some things about Luxembourg that take a little getting used to (customer service can be hit or miss) and some things that drive me crazy (it’s very expensive) but we are having an amazing time living here. We’ve met so many people and made friends for life and visited so many new places (being able to drive for more than 3 hours without hitting water is a novelty when you come from Ireland!). Hopefully, we will get the hang of French at some point and maybe even learn Luxembourgish!
How you have visited Luxembourg on your travels or even moved here? I would love to know what you think of it!