THE BLOG

Loving Luxembourg

17/04/2013 14:33 BST | Updated 16/06/2013 10:12 BST
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I'm a bit in love with Luxembourg.

I've just returned from a weekend city break and I'm already planning my next visit.

It's one of those cities that you don't hear much about - apart from banking, finance, and opaque tax regulation. But it's a lot more than that.

For a start there's the history. If you're vaguely interested in European history or military history then you will find Luxembourg quite compelling. The bock (or rock) of Luxembourg is the ideal place for a defensible castle, and its strategic location has meant that it has been possessed and controlled by the various powers of Europe as they waxed and waned through the centuries.

Luxembourg epitomizes the fortress city - while many of the fortifications have been deliberately dismantled and destroyed, the scale and complexity of the city's defenses are still very much evident today. Head to the Musee d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg which gives some excellent context as well as visually demonstrating the construction of the fortifications through large wooden models. The Musee 3 Eechelenhttp://www.m3e.public.lu over in the Kirchberg district is also also a useful insight into the city's militarized past. And make sure you take a guided tour of the Wenzel walk which takes you through the complex network of tunnels (known as casemates), essential to the defense of the fortress.

If you're into food then there's a surprising number of really good cafes, bakeries, and restaurants - all within walking distance of the city's main squares. Whether it's cakes from Oberweis, lunch at Brasserie Pless at the Hotel Place d'Armes, or a dinner of traditional Luxembourg fare at

Am Tiirmschen restaurant, there's a love of food and drink evident in Luxembourg that makes it an ideal gastronomic destination.

I also loved the MUDAM museum which specializes in modern and contemporary art. The building itself is breathtaking - a modern and wonderfully light-filled space, it was designed by Ieoh Ming Pei (who also designed the Louvre's glass pyramid). There is a fantastic cafe in the museum, flooded with sunshine, where I could easily spend the day just watching the world go by.

As I sat sipping a kir royale in Coco Mango - the bar at the top of the Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal - I soaked in the spectacular panoramic views across the old city. With the light bathing the city's ancient walls, it's easy to imagine that you have somehow been suspended in time and that the city below is still a medieval fortress town, resilient to the world swirling frenetically around it.

What I'm thinking of coming back for is the series of concerts and outdoor events that they have during the summer months. Free concerts in the city's two main squares (Place d'Armes; and Place Guillaume II), rock concerts, blues and jazz festivals, open air cinema, markets and street art. You can really imagine that when the sun is shining then this city will come alive and people will fill the streets.

I'm a bit in love with Luxembourg.