The citadel within the [now dismantled] fortress Luxembourg dates back to 936, and is built on a rock called “Bock”. All that remains today is the base of a stone tower and a belfry known colloquially as the “hollow tooth” (you’ll see why!).
However archaeological excavations revealed the extent of the castle and there is now a museum on the site displaying its history. The museum is also the entrance to the “Casemates”, part of a once 13-mile network of man-made underground caverns hewn into solid rock, and used in times of siege to house men, horses and armour from 1644 onwards.
Luxembourg Old Town
Cobbled streets, ancient battlements, historical buildings, museums and art galleries blend with contemporary boutiques and outdoor cafés, giving the place a totally unique charm.
Luxembourg’s parks and gardens spill out from the Old Town and make this an ideal walking city -especially considering the small size (cf street map) – combining nature with both a modern and a traditional feel.
The stunning Pétrusse Valley -200 feet lower than the main town- is an oasis of peace and calm.
The Place d’Armes is the city’s “sitting room”: A tree-lined square at the centre of Luxembourg’s old town with outdoor cafés and a central bandstand, located in the pedestrian centre of town.
Relax and watch the world go by whilst enjoying coffee and cakes -or the excellent local beers and wines- serenaded by the frequent free concerts that take place throughout the summer.
Every second Saturday, the Place d’Armes plays host to the city’s flea-market.
Conveniently, the city tourist office is located right on Place d’Armes.
On the adjoining “Place Guillaume” -known as “Knuedler”- a vegetable market is held every Wednesday and Saturday morning until 1 p.m., while there’s a general market held every 3rd Sunday (as of mid-April) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the “Place des Glacis”.
A large underground car park under the “Knuedler” (car entrance in Rue Notre Dame), makes for easy access to the City Centre.
The Palace was originally built as the Town Hall in the 16th century, but was adopted by the Luxembourg royal family in the 19th century.
In summer you can take a guided tour around the rooms and admire the opulent tapestries, chandeliers, and wood panelling (tours are organised by the city tourist office)
The 17th century Notre-Dame Cathedral is some 200 metres south of the Place d’Armes, overlooking the “Petrusse Valley”. The baroque gallery -carved in 1622 by Daniel Muller- is part of the Jesuit monks’ convent church [the adjoining building, now used as the National Libary, was a Jesuit college at the time]. The apse contains “The Comforter of the Afflicted”, a wooden statue of Madonna and Child, to whom the cathedral is devoted.
The tomb of ‘John the Blind’ (one of Luxembourg’s medieval rulers, father to Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, known today as the Father of the Czech Nation) is in the crypt.