Luxembourg postcard | Live News

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A sentry stands guard in front of the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. |

It’s hard not to describe Luxembourg as reminiscent of the backdrop to a cheesy Hallmark or Lifetime movie – you know, an ordinary girl marries the heir to the throne – set in a fictional European kingdom.

Of course, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a real country with real inhabitants, called Luxembourgeois, who speak Luxembourgish, although French is the lingua franca. Grand Duke Henry has ruled the country, historically a stronghold of Roman Catholicism, since 2000. With a population of 626,108 souls spread over 998 square miles of land, which is roughly half the size of Delaware, it is surrounded by Belgium, France and Germany at the crossroads of Europe.

This smallness gives Luxembourg considerable appeal. Particularly because you can do and see so much in just a few days, which makes it a perfect destination. In fact, the compact country is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.

The eponymous capital of Luxembourg City was my base for three nights and four days. I divide my time between here and the rest of the Grand Duchy.

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The Saint-Michel church in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. |

My first stop was the National Museum of History and Art. Located in the heart of the Upper Town or the Upper Town, the museum is a great way to discover the unexpected history of Luxembourg.

A few blocks away is the modest but ornate Grand Ducal Palace, seat of the Grand Duchy monarchy. Sentries from the Luxembourg army stand guard at the main entrance to rue du Marché-Aux-Herbes (literally rue du marché aux herbs).

Another way to get acquainted is a guided walking tour, including a three-hour ecclesiastical heritage tour (150 euros or about $ 174 per group, not per person). Among the churches to visit are the Saint-Michel church, largely rebuilt at the end of the 17th century by King Louis XIV of France, and the medieval chapel of Quirin, named after Saint Quirin de Neus, on the site of ‘an ancient Roman pagan sanctuary.

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The streets of Luxembourg city, capital of Luxembourg. |

The city of Luxembourg was for centuries surrounded by fortifications, parts of which remain. Today the ruins offer romantic views of the cityscape, especially in the morning when fog can blanket the Grund or the Lower Town with its iconic former Benedictine Abbey in the valley below the old walls.

Outside the capital, I made day trips to Vianden and the Moselle valley.

In Vianden, I discovered cobbled streets lined with houses and churches older than America. Some may know the place as the former home of Victor Hugo. The big draw, however, is Vianden Castle, an 11th-century castle straight out of a fairy tale.

The country’s wine industry is centered around Remich on the banks of the Moselle in south-eastern Luxembourg. If viticulture has existed here since the Romans, Luxembourg wine is almost entirely consumed within the Grand Duchy.

In addition to Riesling and other ubiquitous grape varieties, the wines are produced from a rather interesting white grape called Auxxerois. Most of the wineries and vineyards can be found off the Route du Vin or Wine Route, which runs along the river for 26 miles. The most famous wineries are Caves St. Martin and Domaine Alice Hartmann.

If you are going to

Although there are no direct flights to and from Luxembourg, it is only one stopover from major US airports. Several European airlines that provide transatlantic connections also serve Luxembourg Airport, including British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa.

While you could explore Luxembourg without a rental car – thanks to free public transport – getting around, especially outside the capital, is logistically easier with a car.

Stay at the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal, a five-star hotel, or at the Hôtel Parc Beaux-Arts with its location next to the Grand-Ducal Palace and the National Museum of History and Art.

Also make sure to buy the Luxembourg Card. Priced at € 28, or around $ 32 per person for three days, it more than covers the many entrance fees and visits.

Follow @dennislennox on Instagram and Twitter.

Dennis Lennox writes on travel, politics and religious affairs. It has been published in the Financial Times, Independent, The Detroit News, Toronto Sun and other publications. To follow @dennislennox on Twitter.



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