Why the French eastern and Luxembourgish roads are great to visit Europe
These roads deserve more attention...
This year was the occasion to discover new things after two long lockdowns at home. I wanted to come back in the United Kingdom as I did the past years. I was used to spend my holidays in Liverpool for those who would like to know what is my favorite British city. Unfortunately, 2021 is another year without the Scouse atmosphere. Fortunately, it was the occasion to discover another part of Europe, the French eastern part and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The idea of changing my plan was a genious idea finally. I asked to one of my friends how was her life between France and Luxembourg. She is lucky to live between three borders even if her region is sadly known for the World War I with the battlefields around the Meuse where thousands of soldiers died in Verdun. Between Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, she can easily cross the borders and drives on the autobahn, the free and modern Luxemburgish highways and the quiet Belgian countryside roads. I prepared my journey to be ready the D-Day. I left my western city on the Atlantic coasts to cross France horizontally. It takes me 5 hours in a train for those who want to challenge me by driving on the French roads from Nantes to Metz.
A journey throughout the past on the French eastern roads
I've discovered a new region in which the landscape has suffered from the WW1. The Meurthe-et-Moselle was the theatre of one of the European violent wars in the 20th century. There are many acres of dangerous forests and corners to drive through the former battlefieds. It doesn't mean you shouldn't forget the sacrifices of thousands soldiers. The French eastern roads don't reflect the lunar landcaspe anymore for the end of the WW1, but you can see easily the topology of the soil and the clear signs which indicate you must follow the authorized paths in the forests. The red road signs warm you clearly there are again unexploded mines or bombshells around you.
Metz is not really boring at all (credit: A. Saboureau)
Once the first part of my journey was done, I had planned to discover one of the three countries, which constitute borders with France. Germany had maintained its borders closed apart from for those who work in Trêves/ Treier. That first goal wasn't possible to achieve at that time. Then, I thought that the Belgian southern part could be great but that wasn't possible for many reasons. The last option and the most easiest and exciting was to discover the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. I had heard a lot of things about this micro-state where the public transports are free and are continuously improved with modern railways, tramways and motorways.
The modern transports of an old medieval city
I have to confess taking train without buying my ticket was very weird. If you're tempted to discover how Luxembourg city looks like, I can advice you not to miss your train directly from Esch-sur-Alzette to the capital city. You arrive in a small and old city where the former and massive buildings are integrated among the modern streets. One of the beautiful things for a petrolhead is the huge number of German-brands cars like Audi, BMW or Porsche, which are parked everywhere in the areas of the city. In the corners, you can also discover some McLaren or Ferrari by the way.
This doesn't sound like a surprise, isn't it? You're probably right. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is considered like one of the wealthiest European states with more 100 banks in it small capital city. Just look at the buildings and life around you when you are there. The most unexpected thing is the drivers and the cyclists can drive and ride carefully. You can go at work quietly using the cycle paths in admiring the green heart of the city in the deeply valley where the rivers, the Alzette and the Pétrusse meet together.
You have an unastonished panoramic view from the railways if you're not scared of height. The other ways to admire the view are from the Kirchberg rock or from the Pfaffenthal, a free public lift made of glass. The Adolphe Bridge, one of the most busiest roads, is used to join the Boulevard Royal to the financial area. It is also an alternative to discover the city. It was built in 1900 and was opened to the tramlines, the cyclists and pedestrians since it restauration in 2017.
A view of the traffic of the city (credit : A.Saboureau)
I walked throught a majority of the areas discovering one of the EU hearts. If you are curious to spend unexpected and pleasant holidays in one of the most European oldest cities, go ahead in taking the bus and the tramway lines, it's again free and practical! Don't forget to admire the Pétrusse valley and the old city (named often the upper town) where is settled the Grand-Ducal Palace and the Parliament.
You feel the medieval vibes in the the narrow and old streets. The capital city reunite an old historical legacy in a modern world of transports. It is the same thing in Esch-sur-Alzette, the border city I've discovered during two days. My journey in the French eastern part and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was just invitation to travel more in the Eastern Europe with a car the next time.