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Luxembourg (Belgium)

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Not to be confused with the neighbouring country of the same name, the province of Luxembourg is the southernmost province of the Belgian region of Wallonia. It is the country's largest province, as well as its least populated one - with only 270,000 inhabitants, as the natural Ardennes region occupy a large part of its territory. The southern part of the province - the Gaume - is part of the Lorraine region, which also contains the French cities of Thionville, Metz and Nancy.

The Semois in Bouillon
View from Bomal station, Durbuy municipality.

Regions[edit]

Ardennes
Officially defined as the region between the Vesdre and Semois rivers, the Ardennes - which spans three Belgian provinces and northern France - is one of this part of Europe's wildest regions, and an excellent destination for outdoor activities.
Famenne
An agricultural region in the north of the province.
Gaume
The Belgian part of Lorraine region, which is otherwise mainly in France. This region around the provincial capital Arlon is a few degrees warmer than the rest of the country, and therefore the only part of Belgium to feature relatively large-scale wine production.

Towns[edit]

In the Ardennes:

  • Barveau — village on the river Ourthe that is a good place to go canoeing, even for beginners!
  • Bastogne — site of the WW2 Battle of the bulge
  • Bouillon - picturesque town in the deep valley of the Semois river that boasts the impressive citadel of the crusader Godfry of Bouillon.
  • Durbuy - claims to be the world's smallest town - is loved by some, and considered the quintessential tourist trap by others, though anyone can enjoy the walk there from nearby Barveau!
  • La Roche en Ardenne -
  • Orval — hosts the beautiful trappist abbey that is famous for the beer of the same name

In the Famenne:

In the Gaume:

  • Arlon — the provincial capital
  • Torgny — Belgium's southernmost village, dubbed Wallonia's most beautiful village

Understand[edit]

The territory of the modern province of Luxembourg used to be part of the the Grand Duchy of the same name until 1839, when the western, Francophone part became part of a new country - Belgium, while the eastern, Germanic part went on to become the modern country Luxembourg.

Talk[edit]

French has been the official language of the province since it was imposed in schools in the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, a number of traditional languages are still spoken or understood by a part of the population, who mostly live in rural areas:

  • The Ardennes version of Walloon in the Ardennes.
  • Gaumais in the south.
  • Luxemburgisch (Lëtzebuergesch), a Germanic language that is closely related to German, but has several French loan words, is spoken near the border.

Dutch is widely spoken in most touristic places, as a large number of Dutch and Flemish tourists visit the province each year. English is more widely spoken (or at least understood) by young people across the whole province. German is spoken by some people who live near the border with Luxemburg.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The province is primarily served by two motorways, that meet near Neufchateau, in the center of the province:

Most of the province is within 1-2 hours rides from Brussels and 40-90 minutes from Liège. Arlon is 20 minutes from Luxembourg.

By train[edit]

The Brussels-Luxembourg line has four main stop in the province:

  • Marloie (1h40 from Brussels, 40min from Namur)
  • Libramont (2h, 1h)
  • Marbehan (2h20, 1h20)
  • Arlon (2h40, 1h40)

Trains leave both ways every hour 06:00-22:00.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

The province is well served by a network of paved road, though these suffer from the relatively harsh climate of the province, are potholed, and can be snowy during winter.

By train[edit]

A number of regional lines provide regular trains to some destination within the province:

  • Libramont-Bertrix
  • Arlon-Virton-Florenville-Bertrix
  • Marloie-Liège

Timetables.

Bicycle[edit]

Some cycling path exist, but are often badly maintained making the road a safer choice. However, the province is full of small beautiful roads that are not much used by cars and are in good state. Be careful however that countryside is more hilly than in the rest of the country, and you can find yourself in front of short but steep and frequent slopes.

Walk[edit]

Forests make a wonderful place to walk. A large number of path cross them, and most municipalities have traced some paths, with signs and possibly maps at the local tourism office. A number of long-distance paths also cross the province, such as the Transardennaise, and GR15.

By bus[edit]

Tec, the regional public transportation service provides a good network between towns and villages of the province, and one should find it possible to reach even the most remote village with public transportations, even though buses might be sparse on some lines (typically schools schedule to bring students to high school).

See[edit][add listing]

  • Tombeau du Géant or Giant's Grave is one typical and scenic bend of the river Semois, surrounded by steep hills. Near Bouillon
  • Memorial of the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. There is also a museum on the military base ("caserne") about 6 blocks from the Place de St. Pierre on the main street. This museum contains the room in which General McAuliffe issued the famous "Nuts!" reply to the German demand for surrender in 1944. There is also much equipment, small arms, and some tanks. Knock at the gate of the military base and ask to see it. On the Place de St. Pierre is a museum presentation called "I was 20 years old in Bastogne." It is an excellent description of the 1944-1945 battle focused on the civilian perspective. Three stories of dioramas, artifacts, movies, small arms, and German and American military sidecar motorcycles.
  • Medieval castle in Bouillon
  • Fourneau Saint-Michel shows a reconstitution of a traditional village, and a museum about the Mining past of the region. Near Saint-Hubert

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Kayak on the Semois or the Ourthe. From Chiny downward on the Semois, and on the last part of the Ourthe, you should find kayak rental in plenty, provided that the water level enables you to enjoy a ride.
  • Walk in the countryside, Ardennes valley and provinces have many beautiful corners to be discovered by feet

Eat[edit][add listing]

As in the rest of Belgium, quality of food in Belgium is very good. However, fast foods and foreign food is popular, and it might be difficult sometimes to find a real local specialist.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Belgium is the country of Beer, and the province of Luxembourg doesn't escape the rule, with several small breweries scattered around. Among them we can discover the Rulles, the Chouffe,... Some locals distillate their own liquor from fruits (plum, apple...), but those are not readily available, and you're only chance to taste it is to be invited by one of them. In Arlon, a local white vine, the Maitrank, aromatised with woodruff is very popular, and is celebrated every year in a festival, the Fêtes du Maitrank.

Stay safe[edit]

The province, as the rest of Belgium is a very safe place. However, some fights might occur at the end of village 'bals' where heavy drinking is involved. However, those happen usually between local youngsters, and basic precaution will avoid any trouble, and you will find your stay a very peaceful experience.

Get out[edit]

  • Luxembourg is only 20 minutes from Arlon, and is an enjoyable city, with old walls
  • Avioth, in France, demonstrate a spectacular Basilica in the tiny village, and Montmédy has an old Vauban Fortress



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