So, now that the much-awaited spring season has finally arrived… Wait, I will try again… So, now that the daylight smiles on us a bit longer, why don’t we all go and take a drive around Luxembourg?
There are a lot of hidden gems in our country and as I am an enthusiast photographer (well, more of a taker of photographs), I always like to stop here and there in my nationwide tour – which basically you can do in one day, you know that, right? – and enjoy what Mother Nature or a few Wise Humans created for us.
For the first Spring (or Summer) Grand Tour of Luxembourg, I have drafted a list of 5 places.
Fasten your seat belts and let’s head towards one of the annoyingly countless towns and villages that end in -ange: Goeblange! An exclamation mark is a sign of excitement, and I know many of my friends would not justify that for Goeblange. Nothing wrong with this town, still we will go just past it and follow the signs for the Roman villa, or Gallorömischer Gutshof.
Park your car at the entrance of the small, unpaved road and start wandering around, following – or not – the path dotted with historical information boards. I found this place by chance and I personally consider it a nice discovery: the site is small, but well kept and a good amount of information is provided. For more information: www.gka.lu. A word of advice: choose a sunny day.
(No, do not say that, please: there are sunny days in Luxembourg!)
After the visit and the small walk, it is time to proceed a wee bit further West, direction Koerich. In this small town, you can find one of the most beautiful churches the Grand-Duchy has to offer: the Church of Saint-Remy. Baroque in style, this elegant church was fully restored at the end of last century, just because they knew you were coming along 30 years later – that is why I would recommend you pay it a visit.
And now… Hey, it is almost lunch time! Who said pizza? Ah, I said pizza, you are right. Luckily, I know a place which… is only 40 minutes away by car! (The average Italian would travel as far as 2 hours for a good pizza, so please do not complain.) (I made this up, but that is how far I would travel. True story.) We are going North-West to Perlé, just next to the Belgian border. In this village, which is even smaller than Koerich – but you should be used to tiny by now – there is an Italian restaurant-pizzeria run by Nizar, a Belgian pizzaiolo, called Niz Art Piazza. Notwithstanding a website boasting all the awards won and a lot of “photos non contractuelles” – both of which I sincerely despise, sorry about that – I suggest you try their calzone and pizza bianca, made with the best pizza dough I have eaten outside of Italy.
(Disclaimer, especially for my fellow Italians: that is according to my experience. For other information and things to know when ordering a pizza there, feel free to contact me.)
As we like to discover natural and man-made beauties in more countries than only Luxembourg, after drinking our usual postprandial espresso, we decide to go to France, which is within spitting distance of Perlé. OK, a bit further. And today even a bit furtherer because we make a detour for a swift stop in Ospern. Now, raise your hands if you know Ospern. I raised my hand, but I must admit I discovered it by chance, one day, on my way back from Perlé to Luxembourg Ville. Not much to do there: some houses (it is home to around 250 people), a bus stop, a shop that sells ladders (!) and a church. I guess it sounds like I am taking you to a tour of churches, and I am not even a believer! Well, let’s say I believe in beautiful things, and this church in particular is worth a visit: small, but beautiful, a tiny gem with a relaxed vibe. Another Saint-Remy, this one is my second favourite church in Luxembourg so far. (Yes, I have a list of my favourite churches. I have a list of my favourite pizzas. I have a list of my favourite everything.)
So, we said France, right? Set your GPS to Avioth, cross two Belgian borders and drive through woodlands and the French countryside on beautiful roads which will lead you to this small village, the tiniest of today’s trip. Size should not matter nor mislead you, though: while of the size of a hamlet, Avioth hosts an impressive and majestic cathedral, Notre-Dame d’Avioth, called “la basilique des champs”. A sanctuary, this church is the end station of a well-known pilgrimage path, covered for the first time in the 12th century in honour of a Black Madonna found on the site.
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy this day out, or at least a part of it, and that your love for Luxembourg and its surroundings will grow bigger day after day, as it happened with me.
(A note of advice: if you have a convertible, please use it for this trip and please take me with you and please let me drive.)
by Andrea L., italian expat in Luxembourg