BONJOUR WORLD: A grand experience in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

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By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press

It’s a small little country to visit, but I had been there before and insisted to return again. Home to some of the most elegant people, restaurants and experiences one will ever find in Europe, Luxembourg is a must next stop when you visit Europe and need a touch of class.

You will find an easy arrival by train or plane to Luxembourg, in my case I came via Paris to Luxembourg City. I was then whisked away to the Moselle region, which lends its name to one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. Taking that a step further, it is also an area famous for wineries, quint hotels and medieval towns that promise history and a true Luxembourg experience.

Let’s take a look first at some facts about Luxembourg, called the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to be specific. There are 549,700 residents living there speaking French, German and the national language, which is Letzebuergesch. If you are scratching your head and wondering where this tiny little jewel can be found it is in Western Europe between Belgium, Germany and France.

While I was there for a food and wine tour, I did take the time to be swept away for a day in the cultural smorgasbord that the country has to offer. In fact, Luxembourg City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1994. It has also been named the European Capital for Culture in the past too. Indeed, this place is a cultural crossroads and you won’t miss that fact when visiting.

In the countryside my first dining experience was a lunch at Brasserie Koeppchen www.koeppchen.lu followed by a visit and wine tasting at the Wine House and Museum www.museevin.lu. If you follow my lead and do both you will come away with an excellent first morning and afternoon to get your spirit humming in this charming country.

Hotel l’Ecluse www.hotel-ecluse.lu was my stop for a night in Stadtbredimus with a dinner nearby at the much loved An der Tourelle.

Day one a success with a peace of mind that only the best meal and wine can provide for the luxury traveler.

Head on to the town of Remich the following day and stop in at the Moselle Regional Tourist Office for details about what to do and where to find the best wines in the region. There is a guided visit called “From Cellar to Cellar” that allows one to take a stroll down the quaint streets and taste the wines and sparkling wines of the village winemakers. These winemakers are age old houses like Domaine Mathis Bastian, Domaine viticole Laurent and Rita Kox, Caves Krier Freres, Caves St Martin and Caves Desom.

It is worth noting that wine growing in the Moselle Region dates back to 370 A.D. when vines were planted on the slopes rising from the banks of the Moselle. Of course, the monasteries began the wine-making tradition there, but today it lives on as in years past with generations of locals who are passionate about what they do. Wines and vines that can be found in Luxembourg include Elbling, Rivaner, Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc , Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer each unique for tasting and blending.

A visit in Luxembourg City

Back in Luxemburg City enjoy Um Dierfgen www.umdierfgen.lu for a dinner to end your trip.

Another must see in Luxembourg City is the MUDAM, Luxembourg’s Museum of Modern Art Grand-Duc Jean designed by Ieoh Ming Pei and enjoy a scrumptious brunch offered there too.

In fact, there are many things to see and do in Luxembourg City so do take the time to visit for a few days and see the shopping streets with gourmet shops such as the famous Lea Linster Delicatessen, Patisserie “Oberweis” a purveyor to the court, Maison Kaempff-Kohler founded in 1922 and the Kaale Kaffi coffee & vintage shop.

While in Luxembourg City I stayed at the Hotel Place D’ Armes. A member of the Relais & Chateaux group, the sophisticated experience sets the stage for classic charm from both the past and a modern vibe. It is located in the town’s historical quarter and is a quick walk to the Palais Grand Ducal, the Cercle Cite and the pedestrian shopping center.

The rooms are personalized and offer Baroque, Art Nouveau and new design with a feel of pampering during the entire experience.

While there I had the chance to dine at La Crisallerie – coined arty, chic and tasty and for good reason. In fact, it is a well-known meeting place for the gourmet set. Located on the first floor of the hotel with wood paneling, high ceilings and large stained-glass windows it is a place of refinement offering a seasonal menu and a truly authentic feel.

Where the Schengen Agreement Began

One thing you will not want to miss in Luxembourg is in the town of Schengen, a word that probably sounds familiar to those who travel often in Europe. It is the site of where the Schengen Agreement was made. In a word, it gives Europeans the opportunity to travel from country to country as part of the agreement without having to pull out a passport every time they cross the border. The European Museum in Schengen is quite interesting and is located in the tripoint of Luxembourg, Germany and France. There is a permanent exhibition at the museum about the European Union and the Schengen Agreement and plenty of tourist information. This information includes the details on the agreement that was signed on June 14, 1985 on the passenger ship MS Princess Marie-Astrid abolishing border controls. In 1985 it was just five countries in the EU that abolished its internal border controls [Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France and the Netherlands) today it is almost the entire continent.

For more information about visiting Luxembourg go to www.visitluxembourg.com

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