In the neighbourhood: Merl
More than 100 nationalities among a population of 6,405 at the end of 2021 have made this swanky neighbourhood in the southwest of the city their home.
Covering just 242 hectares, it’s one of the most densely populated of the city’s districts. Its central location close to a number of schools in the Geesseknäppchen complex makes it popular with expats.
A little background...
Also called Märel, it was a village with its own chapel in the Middle Ages and part of the Hollerich parish. Until the start of the early 16th century, it was part of the Benedictine Abbey of Munster and at the end of the 18th century it became an independent municipality no longer tied to the abbey. The current church grew in size through several transformations and extensions between the 18th and 20th centuries.
In 1815, Merl became part of the Hollerich municipality, which then merged with the city in 1920. During the last century, the area has been transformed and building work continues to keep up with demand for homes in this neighbourhood.
Good transport links, a leafy residential feel with the main park and other green areas, and its proximity not only to the city but also Bertrange and Strassen, mean demand for apartments is high.
According to Wort Immo the current price per square metre of real estate in the area is:
Apartment (new) €14,584
Apartment (old) €12,462
House (old) €10,131
Shopping & Services
For grocery shopping there’s a Cactus at Place Joseph Thorn and a Delhaize shop'n'go on route de Longwy. There are also several service stations which have smaller grocery shopping options.
There’s a big Naturata bio supermarket in Merl, with free parking, selling fresh fruit and vegetables, organic pastries and bread, speciality cheeses, dried goods, meat, vegan and gluten-free or lactose-free products. It has a selection of wellness products, textiles, books and even pet food. It also has a bistro. Open Monday to Saturday 9.00 to 19.00 (closing at 18.00 on Saturday). Bodani sells wines, spirits, cured meats, pasta and oils
You'll find Kiosk Merl at avenue du Dix Septembre, and a Lies and Iess on 42 rue Jean Bertels. If you’ve got a Marvel- or manga-mad teen then head to Fantasybox.
There’s a medical centre at 189 route de Longwy, where you can make appointments to see one of two doctors from Monday to Friday. Skin Experts is a beauty institute offering skin treatments at 1 rue Charles-Quint.
Faber Violins is on route de Longwy, and there’s also a photography studio for portraits, business and weddings at X Septembre Gallery.
Schools & crèches
The Merl primary school has campuses at boulevard Marcel Cahen and rue Adam Roberti for cycle 1 and at rue de Merl for cycles 2-4. Two sites also house childcare centres that offer educational after-school and holiday activities for children aged 3-12 years.
There’s a municipal creche at rue de la Barrier, and another, Creche Barbara, in the district.
The Geesseknäppchen campus houses the secondary schools Athenée de Luxembourg (which also has IB classes in English), the Gaston Thorn international school which covers the European Baccalaureate, and Lycée Aline Mayrisch, Lycée Michel Rodange and Ecole de Commerce and Gestation for attaining a Luxembourgish diploma but also a bachelor degree. The privately-run International School of Luxembourg (ISL) has a primary through to secondary school which latterly covers IGCSEs and the IB.
On the same campus the Luxembourg Conservatory offers music classes and stages performances.
Approximately 2,500 students from 60 countries take lessons in the building on rue Charles Martel, which was constructed in 1981, and houses a Westenfelder organ in its grand auditorium. The conservatory also has a museum of early instruments, a specialist and a music library and houses an archive of musical works.
Languages.lu offers language classes for adults and children, including holiday camps, and is located at 6 Rue Marguerite de Brabant.
Transport & parking
Bus lines 6, 8, 12, 15, 27, CN2 serve Merl across 19 bus stops. The Bouillon P+R parking lot is also close by.
There are 3 Veloh! stations in the neighborhood, seven above-ground car parks, plus 8 parking spaces for reduced mobility.
Sports & Parks
There are five playgrounds in Merl, but the biggest is found in the serene Merl Park which offers a welcome break from the activity of the busy quarter. In addition to housing a playground, it has a duck pond, and a restaurant, a rose garden and an adjacent park specifically for dogs. The park also houses an open air gallery with temporary exhibitions.
The playground features zip wires, tube slides, sandpits and swings, is to be refurbished to make it more accessible. The plan is to add a swing area, a pond for mini-sailboats, a splash pad, a racetrack for bikes and a picnic area. Initially the plan was to undertake work in 2022, but this has now been delayed until autumn 2023, with the park reopening in the spring of 2024.
On the borders of Merl/Belair you’ll find the castle park complete with turrets and a carriage on rue Charlemagne. There’s a knight, plus horses and a prison for naughty children.
You would not think of Merl as being the horse capital of Luxembourg, but on rue des Celtes you’ll find the riding school Ecurie de la Petrusse, and further along the same road the Polo Club Luxembourg and the Roude Léiw Polo Club.
Merl also has a multi-sport field, Prince Jean Stadium, and a multi-use sports and gymnastics hall. FC Redstar Merl-Belair is the local football team, that runs youth teams too.
Yogaloft holds outdoor yoga in Merl Park seasonally, whilst Just Move at 71 rue de Merl has a number of fitness classes. Dance School Cathy Moes by Li Martelling has four dance studios of over 2000 square metres and offers classes in hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary and more for children, teens and adults.
Claire Royer ceramic workshop has 60sqm of space on route de Longwy for adults and children to decorate ceramics, or to try their hand at one of five potter's wheels and learn to make their own clay pots. You can take 2.5-hour classes at the wheel, enameling and firing on Tuesdays and Thursdays to produce a piece with Claire or Julie. There are also weekday children’s courses.
If you want to create something to go inside your ceramic dish, there’s a cooking workshop with Betrand, again for adults and children, although you must book it as a group session.
Culture & theatre
In addition to the Luxembourg Conservatory, Merl is home to the Portuguese consulate and Camões cultural centre, which amongst other things holds language classes, and hosts music and dance performances.
The National Theatre Luxembourg (TNL) is small but puts on some surprisingly good performances, some in English. In November, Gintare Parulyte will be performing Lovefool and there is a Polish/UK dance collaboration.
Base 1 Makerspace at the Forum Geesseknäppchen invites children, teens and young adults to build their own drone or robot, make a movie or video for a YouTube channel, programme their own game, or create their own music.
Coaches are on hand to help out, with an emphasis on different areas each weekday. Teens can drop-in (there is no need to register) and get to know the makers and coaches. There are sewing machines, 3D printers and laser cutting tools available. It's open 12.30 to 18.30 on weekdays (you can check the website calendar for the individual days of closure).
Workshop4me teaches children and young adults aged 5 to 16 years creative computing, coding and app development. Coding and robotics sessions are held on Saturdays from 10.00 to 11.00 and 11.00 to 12.00 at Forum Geesseknäppchen. The sessions are in French and English, and you can find more information here.
Restaurants, cafes, bars and bakeries
Boulangerie Kremer near the park has a good selection of bread, pastries and home-made chocolate. It’s popular with school students.
Close by is Boulangerie Arbre à Pain with a good selection of baked goods, bread and pastries. Reviewers say the coffee is very reasonably priced. There’s a Hoffman’s patisserie technically in Belair, but close enough if you really need some of their crème-pat-fillmd millefeuille.
There’s wooden and brown leather décor at Tomo Suishi, which has miso soup, Yaki Tori, noodles, wok plates and several types of sushi. For hand-made, craft ramen head to Manzoku’s Tokyo-sized restaurant and shop, which also hosts pop-up events with Japanese chefs. There’s fusion sushi at Hakii, which has a green terrace and serves Japanese beers. Chinese King has Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes.
Antica Trattoria is part of a hotel and serves up a vast selection of Italian meat and fish dishes. For something classy, head to the beautifully decorated and very light Brasserie des Jardins, on boulevard Marcel Cahen, for steaks and fish dishes plus plenty more.
You’ll get pizza, pasta and other Italian staples at Restaurant Peperoncino and Via, and slightly more upmarket Italian fare at Fama. A limited menu, but there are some nice choices at Due Galli. There's more choice of pizza, pasta, meat and fish dishes at L’Altro.
If you want some tarte flambe, a burger or a healthy poke bowl, then head to the park and Pavillon, where you can dine alfresco by the duck pond or inside. Café O Zé Do Pipo is a simple Portuguese canteen, but reviewers say the food is fresh and very reasonably priced.
Wine Not is located at 4 place Joseph Thorn, and it is part of the Cocottes family. You can get a selection of wines selected by Sommeliers Aristide Spies and Pascal Carré, with Cocottes food pairings.
Ice cream lovers should head to Bonomaria at rue Wurth-Paquet for artisanal ice cream, waffles, crepes and frozen yoghurt. Alternatively Gelateria Marcello is part of the Hotel Parc Belair near the park. A more recent addition on the Belair/Merl borders is Nice ice cream, which has vegan, lactose-free and all sorts of great artisanal ice creams and ice cream cakes.
If you fancy a drink, the very popular Pacha spills out onto the street and has a good selection of beers, whilst Brasserie Bugatti is recommended for an after-work drink. Café des sports is on rue Saint-Hubert.
Brasserie L’Arret is adorned with flags and posters of Che Guevara, and it has a cosy feel. It has salsa classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Find out more....
You can find out more on the Ville de Luxembourg website here.