Easter Week end At Le Clervaux, Boutique & Design Hotel, Clervaux, Luxembourg

Finally this year we decided to leave Luxembourg for Easter break.

Considering the bad weather forecast and the fact we did not want to spend all day travelling, we booked at Le Clervaux, a hotel boutique located in Clervaux, in the north of Luxembourg.

We took our train on Sunday morning – actually bus plus train, as there were some works on the road – and we got to Clervaux in around one hour and a half.

The village is lovely and the hotel is about ten minutes walking from the station.

Things we loved about our stay

– Our suite was huge. TV in the bathroom, shower and bath, king size bed, Nespresso machine, minibar, amazing wardrobe. Nothing was really missing, it was the perfect room.
– The breakfast the morning after was also outstanding – we had even champagne.
– We booked our stay because of the wellness center in the hotel and we had mostly great time. The “sauna world” has sauna, salt grotto, steam bath, relaxation area and much more. Clean and relaxing. We had also a “couple massage” for 30 minutes that was super.
– The hotel has two restaurants – a gastronomic Italian one (Da Lonati) and a steakhouse/pizzeria (Rhino). We tried the steakhouse, had some shared charcuterie as starter and cote a l’os and steak for main (#foodporn pictures are following the post). Delicious. I would not exclude to visit it again even if a bit far from the city, as it was one of the best meat I had in my life – to remind: yummy truffle mayonnaise and extremely kind service.
– There was also an elegant bar – Cabana Lounge -, that was very animated, where we get drunk after dinner – to remove all the wellness hours’ benefits 😛

The only thing we did not like very much:

– The pool area was shared with the next door hotel and was full of kids. I honestly prefer hotels without kids but I am pretty sympathetic if they are well-behaving. In this case, they were just diving in the pool, making a lot of noises and using the Jacuzzi for their games. I would say this was not the situation for kids. If you book a boutique hotel with only suites, you won’t expect to share common area with another hotel for families. We ended up not using the pool as it was really messy.

On Monday morning there was a market just next to the Castle and we spent some hours around – notwithstanding the cold.

In conclusion, it was a lovely break and if you would like to have some relax without travelling too much, it is definitely recommended – maybe off-peak season in order to avoid confusion.

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Birthday Dinner at Le Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg

Uff! Even if I pretend to be young, I needed some days to recover from the last birthday week end – after three days of partying I still feel a bit blurred.

On Friday night, that was actually the day of my birthday, my husband booked a table at Le Bouquet Garni. Even if I love French restaurants, we never had a chance to visit this one during our pretty long stay in Luxembourg.

The restaurant is located in the area called “Ilot Gastronomique“, in the Old Town, just behind the Grand Duke Palace. It has preserved traditional settings of the area – stone walls, timbers on view, old furniture. We were welcome in a small entrance and accompanied to our table. The restaurant has different rooms on the two floors and our table was indeed on the first one – just next to the window overlooking the back of the Palais. My husband loved the fireplace, the table was quite big for two persons and the distance with other guests more than appropriate.

There are two menu choices: a menu for 40 euro (starter, main, dessert), with brasserie imprint, and a more gastronomic one for 72 euro (again, starter, main, dessert). Both have several choices between fish and meat, plus there is the possibility to upgrade the second menu to four dishes for 85 euro.

We had a glass of champagne rose’ as aperitif – on the table there were olives and nuts to enjoy – and we went for the “Menu Selection”: cauliflower welcome from the chef, lobster as starter, sole a la “bonne femme” (with mussels and shrimps) as main and moelleux au chocolat as dessert. We accompanied the dinner with a bottle of Chablis Gran Cru.
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 photo 9ca588c8-ba0a-4838-aadb-69691aad4282_zpsqhvumuel.jpgThings I loved about the night:
– The sole and the chocolate cake were just perfect. Amazing combination of tastes, fair portions, great raw materials quality. The sole was accompanied by potatoes mousse that was just delicious, while the dessert was also composed by a yummy fruit sorbet. I am still dreaming about both.
– The service and the settings were great: I really appreciate some distance between tables, the timing of the dinner was almost great, we did not wait too much but it was not even too fast. The bottle of wine was next our table but we were always served by the waiter and our glasses were never empty.
– The two menu choices are perfect if you are coming for a dinner with friends – and therefore don’t want to splash the cash – or for a special occasion – like we did. All the dishes were appealing and the portions look correct for the price.
– The location is really romantic and perfect for a tete-a-tete.

Things I did not really love about the night:
– Overpriced aperitif (and drinks). As said, we ordered a glass of champagne rose’. I have been to the most expensive restaurants in Luxembourg and normally the maximum we paid was 18 euros (with an average of 13/15 euro). The champagne was billed 26 euro per glass – 52 euro for two glasses (!!!!). As it was a blind choice – the waiter asked us if we wanted an aperitif, so we did not have any list in front of us – I really think it was too much. Skip the aperitif if you don’t want bad surprises. Drinks had a pretty high recharge as well – 9 euro for the water, 4 euro each for espresso but in line with other similar restaurants, French wines starting from 40 euro and upgrading very fast. No Italian white wines below 100 euros. What is the sense then of having a 40 euro menu if you are going to spend the double for water, coffee and wine?
– The lobster of the starter was great, but was accompanied by a light sauce that was made only of vinegar. We were provided a spoon and when I tasted the bisque I was almost disgusted. The lobster alone indeed was very good.
– Service a bit worst at the end of the dinner, when the dessert was taken to the table we were still finishing our last glass of wine. We had a very dry wine, so I would have loved to take a sweet glass with the cake. In this way we ended up not finishing our wine and not ordering anything else. We had also to ask the waiter to wait couple of minutes to serve the coffee as he seemed a bit under pressure for made us leaving – it was not even 11 pm, so not so late and we were not the last table.

In conclusion: we had a lovely dinner. We will come back for sure, maybe to try the brasserie menu, as the settings are perfect for a romantic dinner, but please remember total price is escalating fast with the drinks – so still recommended for a special occasion and not for a “I don’t want to cook” night 😛

The great Sunday night spot, finally: “Culturando” Italian Aperitif

I took sometimes to write this post. Not because I was not happy about my (several) experiences at Culturando – I was, indeed – but just because as Oscar Wilde used to say “When I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy”. It is really like that. I like Culturando event on Sunday – Aperitivando – so much that I am scared to spread the voice it is a lovely place and find it so packed next time I could not catch my usual corner. You know how I like concluding my weeks with a couple of glasses. And I already talked about my frustration of not finding enough lively places in Luxembourg City on Sunday evening.
Culturando is now a kind of a bullet point to check each end every week, you never get bored.

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Things I love about there:
Lovely Italian wine at fair price. You can go with several different glasses, 5 euro each, or ask for the bottles list. Guys working there are extremely competent and will be able to suggest the wine going along with your mood. We went for Fiano this time and I could not be more satisfied.
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Amazing food, really. I am not the kind of person taking advantages of aperitif buffet but everything was soo delicious we had three rounds in two people. Panzerotti with mozzarella and tomato were heavenly, arancini with radicchio to die for. You have also lasagna, veggie quiche, rice cake, pizza, olives… you start saying: “I will give a try” and you will end up conveying: “I will not have dinner at home tonight”.
(graphic contents – caution while scrolling down 😛 )
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Cool music and people. The atmosphere is pleasant. If you are not looking at the snow landscape outside, you could think for a moment to be in some lovely wine bar at Colonne, in Milan, or in Trastevere, Rome. There are a lot of tables, so most of the people are seated and you don’t have to queue for drinking or eating – highly appreciated. You know, I feel pretty old and I really don’t like over packed situations. Culturando is relaxed but always well animated.
Last thing: it is a bit out of the city center chaos – just next door Utopia cinema – but easily to get. You can take bus n. 3, stop Henri VII, and you don’t even need to be bothered looking for a parking – but if you want, Glacis is less than 3 minutes walking.
Culturando is also open during the week if you want to have a glass with friends or for a cozy Italian dinner.

Culturando,
15, avenue de la Faiencerie
L-1510 Luxembourg

There is no Christmas time without…. ChrĂ«schtmaart

Coming from a small beach village where, even during winter, temperatures are never lower than 5 degrees, I was not a huge fan of Christmas period for long time of my life. I think in some way I was missing the spirit of the celebration and I definitely preferred mid-summer celebration… Since I moved to the North, the story started to be different and, having my own family now, I appreciate more everything this period is bringing. The Christmas tree, the Eve dinner, decorations all around the town…

My office is just overlooking one of the most chaotic street of the city, therefore when already more then two weeks ago they started putting the winter lights I was more than happy. All the shops are ready with gifts idea, home decorations and party outfits.

One of the things I like most about Luxembourg is, for sure, the Christmas Market. I have been to several others – Trier, Metz, Aachen, even London – and I know honestly Luxembourg one is pretty small. But maybe because I live in Luxembourg, each and every year I find it the best one. It is not extremely touristic, you can find local products and some imported ones, but nothing too much commercial.

I love the main stand for drinks that is just in the middle of the Gaelle Fra square – ca va sans dire, my fav one is vin chaud with Amaretto. The waiters have typical dress and I am trying to exercise my Luxembourgish. I adore the Yankee Candles stand and my favorite food is Cheese Fondue in Place d’Armes. This year, for the first time, as it is not yet so cold, I had also a trip on the big wheel. It is definitely smaller than the one we have during the Schouberfoeur, but the view is indeed suggestive. Just pay attention if the day is windy, as the cabins are open, and someone – like my husband – could be a bit scared.

The only small sad complain I have is that I would love Christmas market to be opened longer, in the evening, and for a longer period, definitely not to end up just before Christmas.

What is your favorite stand at Luxembourg market and what is the best Christmas market you ever been?

 

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