Luxembourg City-Orval-Laon-Paris-Nancy

Mar 28th, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Luxembourg City-Orval-Laon-Paris-Nancy

Embarking on a week-long road trip in late April/early May, starting in Strasbourg (France). Highlights are Luxembourg City (Luxembourg), Abbaye D'Orval in Orval (Belgium), Laon (France), Paris (France), and then one last stop in Nancy (France). Traveling with a 36 yo, 61 yo and 85 yo - all in good health condition, willing to walk/climb stairs/sightsee. Been there/done that in Strasbourg & Paris. Specifically looking for advice on restaurants ($-$$$), must-see monuments/buildings/architecture, rest-stops worth stopping at along the way, areas to avoid and anything else you can think of in Luxembourg City, Orval, Laon and Nancy. We've searched through the other forums, and found a few tidbits on Luxembourg City. Your input is appreciated greatly.
Verloren is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Luxemburg City is one of my favorite places - because it is so gorgeous - town bisected by a deep gorge - there is not a whole lot to see for more than a day - the main site seems to be a tour of the casements, tunnels hewn out over the ages in the cliffs for defensive purposes - the Grand Place or whatever they call the stately tree-lined main square on a nice day is full of folks at outdoor cafes.

In suburban Hamm you will find a U.S. military cemetery where amongst other fallen heroes Gen Patton is buried - think he was killed in a Jeep accident in the Grandy Duchy just after the end of WW2.

Otherwise you'll find a very modern city but some of the smaller towns like Clervaux in the Grand Duchy are really delightful - do some research on what is a short drive in Luxembourg from Luxembourg city - some really dreamy countryside and smaller towns and castles...

Nancy I believe is much farther east than Laon
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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Thanks PalenQ! We are starting in Strasbourg and ending there as well - which explains Laon (West)and back to Nancy (East). In previous trips, we've visited Reims and Epernay. This trip we wanted to see something different. Curious if anyone has stopped in Orval for the beer, cheese and bread? Worth the stop?
Verloren is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:15 AM
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You have forgotten the indispensable stop in Metz.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:06 PM
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Metz is marvelous (if you decide to visit, don't miss the covered market in front of the cathedral unless it's a Sunday or Monday), but I personally find Nancy more charming/relaxing.

We just got back from Nancy last night. Epicurian delights not to be missed, reservations a must:

La Mignardise
28 rue Stanislas
tel: 03 83 32 20 22
Foie Gras Maison, lamb, veal and fish were delightful. Grande Traditional fare with a contemporary twist. Just off the beautiful place Stanislas. Romantic, warm tones with Modern edginess.

Just across from La Mignardise is the Restuarant des Beaux Arts; very nice for bistrot fare; owner has children in the states if I remember correctly and loves to have the chance to speak English. You can usually get squeezed in w/o reservations here.

Just across and down on the corner from the train station is
L'Excelsior. It's a 20-25 minute walk uphill from the beautiful place Stanislas, so you might want to taxi if some in your party need to conserve energy. Sorry, don't have address/tel. handy but this is a must for cuisine and art nouveau/école de Nancy architecture/stained glass. Noisy at lunch but an elegant yet fun experience. I always have to have their seafood choucroute; my husband's chateaubriand was excellent with superb home-made sauce béarnaise; fish of the day (dorade)my friend had was a tad too plain-jane for my taste.

The tourist office is right on the famous Place Stanislas and has brochures for self-guided walking tours outlining all the famous monuments and superb houses. Be sure to visit the Crédit Lyonais a short walk from the Excelsior if you are a fan of Art Nouveau. They allow visitors inside to see the fantastic stained glass ceiling (I was amazed they let us film/take pix). If you do this after dining at the Excelsior, take side exit and go down this side street about 2 buildings on the same side as the restaurant; there is a marvelous art nouveau Union building with stained glass, wrought iron and glass entry-way. Turn right at that traffic light and go one city block and you come to a square with a moving monument of two women dressed in traditional dress mourning, symbolic of Nancy mourning for the loss of Metz to Germany as part of the terms at the end of the Franco-Prussion war. The Best Western Hotel Crystal is on this square. On the corner of the square is another famous/fantastic art nouveau building that you can't miss (can't remember the name); the Crédit Lyonais is just down from this gem, on the same side of the street.

Also, if you stay at the Grand Hotel de la Reine on Place Stanislas there is a wonderful "restaurant row" behind the place, through the triumphal arch and immediately turn left. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at La Grande Epicerie there...tasty eggs "cocotte", tartines, stews, steaks and salads; virtually something for everyone, big or little appetites. Relaxed atmosphere among the locals.

Of course there is the Ecole de Nancy museum for Art Nouveau and on the square is the Fine Arts Museum with a superb Daum crystal collection in the basement.

klondiketoo is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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I am sorry to say that I have not yet had a chance to make my Nancy (or even my Luxembourg) report, even though it is my area of expertise, but I do have a report about Metz (and another one about the Pompidou Center Metz, but that's another story).

Here is my basic Metz report (inside a post started by somebody else):
kerouac is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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That's wonderful, kerouac. I love love love Metz, absolutely enjoyed my 5-day stay there back in 2008. Your reports brings up fond memories.
Keren is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Wow Klondiketoo! Thank you so much for the detailed response! I will print and add to my file. We've bypassed Nancy so many times, and we are looking forward to our visit there. Your recommendations will come in handy!

Kerouac, We will be passing through Metz on the way to Luxembourg. Not sure how much time we will have for sightseeing... May need to make more time! Thank you for the suggestions!

After researching Luxembourg a bit more, we added Vianden to our itinerary (staying overnight), and in the process, dropped the Abbaye d'Orval in Belgium. This specific stop will have to wait for the next trip. From what I've read, we can still find the beer and cheese throughout Belgium. In the meantime, we're looking forward to a night near a river and hearing church bells in the morning... Something we hadn't planned on doing in this part of the country.
Verloren is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:32 PM
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If you want to really feel like you're in the EU, you can drive over to Remich on the Moselle (lots of river cruises) and then go to the Luxembourg village of Schengen at the triangular Lux-Fra-Ger border.

Last time I stayed in Nancy, I was at the Suite Novotel in the new canal district, just a bit out of the center. One of the things I appreciate the most about those places is having a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot in the very large room.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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(I have also stayed at the Suite Novotel in Luxembourg, which suited my purposes but which is in a soulless no man's land of offices -- if you don't mind driving into the city for visiting and walking, it's fine, but there is absolutely no place of interest to which you can walk from the hotel itself.)
kerouac is offline  
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