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A sunny weekend stroll through Luxembourg’s gardens
The Garden Path

A sunny weekend stroll through Luxembourg’s gardens

by Faye Peterson 6 min. 20.03.2022 From our online archive
The Grand Duchy has more than its fair share of parks and gardens, waiting to be explored
The daffodil - Lorblumm in Luxembourgish - grows abundantly in Lellingen
The daffodil - Lorblumm in Luxembourgish - grows abundantly in Lellingen
Photo credit: John Lamberty

If you fancy the outdoors during what promises to be an exquisite early spring weekend, but you’re not in for miles of hiking, a stroll through a garden offers a good compromise. Here are some ideas of where to play, read a book or hold a pick-nick in an utterly civilised – yet natural - environment.

Mondorf Les Bains

Spanning more than 45 hectares, this spa is a living piece of Luxembourg’s heritage. Created in 1886 by French landscape architect Edouard André, the grounds offer something for everyone.

It's a bit early for the rose garden now, but Mondorf-les-Bain still has plenty to offer
It's a bit early for the rose garden now, but Mondorf-les-Bain still has plenty to offer
Luc Deflorenne

The park springs to life around this time of year with a magnificent display of more than 70,000 tulips. And while it might be a bit early for roses, a display of herbs – with forgotten gems such as anise, wormwood and rue recovering from winter – will give you some ideas for your own plot or pots. Return in summer when the meadows are covered in flowers before autumn leaves close the show.

If you’d rather indulge your inner artist, you should try to find the array of artworks dotted about the grounds - from Auguste Liesch’s playful sculpture, Maus Kätti to Lucien Wercollier’s abstract Enfranchisement.  Or opt for a round of mini golf, wheel in a little romance in a horse-drawn carriage ride, or hire a boat to pedal your way along the river Gander.

Should the weather disappoint, make a beeline for the free aviation museum or take shelter in the park’s compact but cosy cinema (which you can also hire for private screenings).

Château Ansembourg

Nestled in the Valley of the Seven Castles, Château Ansembourg is an architectural gem, surrounded by equally impressive gardens.  Its formal avenues, imposing sculptures and geometric styling showcase some of the best features the Baroque had to offer.

Built to impress the owners' achievements on the visitor: the Chateau d Ansembourg
Built to impress the owners' achievements on the visitor: the Chateau d Ansembourg
Gerry Huberty

Discover hidden fountains, fish ponds and a mini maze.  The impressive avenue of mythological statues replicates classical Greek sculpture in the ‘chryselephantine’ style - try saying that after a few crémants!  The white stone figures mimic ivory, a material used by the Greeks to suggest flesh; whilst their objects or drapery are accented with gold, signifying wealth and status.

A product of industry and aristocracy, the garden is designed to impress its owners’ achievements on you at every turn. Hence the golden statue of a double-headed eagle, representing the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy who ennobled the former owners, and the four colossus statues at the rear of the building, representing the four continents - Africa depicted in chains.

A statue in the chryselephantine style, portraying Asia, one of four allegories of the continents.
A statue in the chryselephantine style, portraying Asia, one of four allegories of the continents.
LW

But beneath the pomp and circumstance, there’s a playful, subtly subversive undertone to many elements of the garden such as the cheeky carved monkeys tormenting their stone fountain lions.  

The terraced slopes contain rare rose collections, trained fruit trees and a stepped herb garden.  Here nature is bent to the will and design of the gardener.  Yet just beyond the rear wall is the potager and a wilder area, where a variety of vegetables and growing methods are on show.

The castle is private property, but the gardens are free to visit during opening hours with the additional bonus of having visitor parking and toilets on site.  Picnicking and dogs are not allowed, but the gardens, once famous beyond the Grand Duchy’s borders, are still worth leaving the city.

Nature parks

Luxembourg has an array of nature parks. Covering vast expanses of diverse areas, these green places push the concept of the public park to its limits.  Not to be confused with national parks, a nature park works to support the sustainable economic development of the region and encourage ecotourism. 

For nature lovers and sports enthusiasts there is a wealth of activities to enjoy.  Choose between the Nature Parks of the Our, Upper Sûre or Geopark Mëllerdall.

In the Nature Park Our, thousands of wild daffodils - a protected species known as Lorblumm in Luxembourgish - on the hiking trails out of Lellingen pop up each spring. There are also nature workshops, where you can make anything from clay bird baths to wild bee nesting boxes. The more energetic can hike, bike or kayak around the river – or cross-country ski when there is snow.

It's time to (re)visit the quirky rock formations of the Mullerthal
It's time to (re)visit the quirky rock formations of the Mullerthal
Chris Karaba

The Nature Park in the Upper Sûre contains Luxembourg’s largest lake, which generates electricity, provides drinking water – and is an important leisure facility. In summer, people engage in an array of watersports, from canoeing and windsurfing to sailing.

Motor boats are not permitted, though you can take a leisurely cruise by boat, including a visit to a forest information centre. Learn more about the region’s textile history at the Nature Park Centre or take part in a workshop centred around these skills.

Budding geologists should pay a visit to Nature and Geopark Mëllerdall, which takes its name from the many mills dotted along the waterways. But it was long-since-disappeared oceans and rivers that shaped the landscape 245 million years ago. The region is known for its quirky rock formations, visible from one of the many hiking trails which date back back to the 19th century, like the ones in Wanterbaach and Siweschlëff. The region is also known for its traditional orchard meadows and wide varieties of fruits. Take time to visit this spring when the fruit trees are in full bloom.

Park Sënnesräich

Children young and old will love exploring the indoor and outdoor educational activities in this setting.

Outdoor themed areas include an edible kitchen garden with orchard, barefoot trail, living pond, large labyrinth and an inflatable trampoline. Inside, a further two floors of family activities await. Muse over your experiences with a bite to eat on the terrace of the bistro overlooking the parkland.


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