Scooters and cupcakes: An afternoon in Luxembourg City

They say that the best adventures are unplanned. I disagree.

I believe that the best adventures are those with a bare skeleton of a plan: something concrete enough to include at least one clear goal or objective, yet vague enough to allow spontaneity to thrive and flexibility to reign.

Take scooters and cupcakes, for example. Don’t ask why, but I figured that an urban micro-scooter adventure with the kids might be a rather pleasant thing to do on this sunny winter’s day. Simultaneously, I (somewhat randomly) remembered a delicious cupcake given to me a couple of weeks ago.

The seeds of a plan had been unwittingly sown: explore Luxembourg City on our micro-scooters and find a place selling cupcakes. Well, why not?


Parking at the huge “Glacis” car park on the northern fringes of Luxembourg City centre, we stacked on layers of warm clothing and scootered into the frozen expanses of the city park. Situated on what was once the north-west corner of Luxembourg’s formidable defensive fortifications, the park now serves as a welcome haven of tranquility in the centre of the bustling capital. Plus, to my kids’ enormous delight, it is home to one of the best playgrounds in the country:

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Yes, that’s a full-size pirate ship. But it’s also a full-size pirate ship with swings, slides and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Dragging the kids away from it wasn’t easy, but their curiosity was piqued when I told them we’d be scootering under the Pont Adolphe bridge.

“You mean over the bridge, right Dad?”

Nope, I meant under it.

In one of the coolest additions to Luxembourg City centre in years (and, as you will see, there have been plenty of cool additions), a cycle path has been suspended under the main carriageway of this venerable old bridge, yet still soaring some 40 metres above the valley floor below. It’s a rather unique experience, and the views are quite something…

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Of course, once we got to the other side of the bridge we immediately turned around and scootered under it again. And again. But eventually the cupcakes began to call us, and we headed towards the less-fashionable “gare” (station) district of town. There, in an unassuming side street only metres from the usual gaggle of chain stores, we discovered a real gem: Kathy’s Cupcakery. Mission accomplished!

Back on the streets with our tummies full of buttercream, we headed back towards the old town once again. However, before crossing the Pétrusse valley, we ducked down a succession of icy staircases towards another hidden jewel of this fascinating city.

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A relatively new addition to Luxembourg City’s growing roster of kid-friendly attractions, the biggest single challenge awaiting visitors to the Pétrusse Skatepark is figuring out how to actually get there. Lurking in the shadows of the impressive Pétrusse Viaduct, the skatepark lies a good 40-50 metres BELOW the main city centre and isolated from the throngs of tourists, businessmen and shoppers by towering cliffs of imposing sandstone. Still, for those who do manage to find it (and happen to have a skateboard or micro-scooter with them), it is an incomparable source of joy:

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Now, time for a small confession. I wanted to return to our car by means of another of Luxembourg City’s modern-day technical wonders: the Pfaffenthal lift. This remarkable real-life great glass elevator connects the bottom of the Pfaffenthal valley to the “Pescadore” section of the city park: a vertigo-inducing 71 metre altitude difference covered in a mere 25 seconds.

But there was a problem: Ash was sick.

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He had spent the previous day in bed with fever, hadn’t fully recovered, and was now feeling the effects of over 6km of scootering in sub-zero temperatures.  So… we took a shorter way back to the car instead. But here is Ash “riding” the lift in better health last summer, with an over-excited Poppy providing the apt background commentary. (“Are we nearly in the sky?”)

For poor old Ash the sugar rush of the cupcakes had finally subsided to a numb emptiness. Upon arrival at our car, he promptly slumped into his seat, gave one last heroic thumbs-up and closed his eyes for a well-earned rest. But – hey! – if you are going to expend all your energy, it might as well be on top-notch micro (scooter) adventures like this one.


PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR CUPCAKE ADVENTURES

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  • Parking on the Glacis (Allée Scheffer) costs €1 per hour, and there are usually spots available. The exception is mid-August to mid-September, when the entire car park is closed for the annual “Schueberfoeur” fairground.
  • The “Pirate Ship” playground is found just off Avenue Monterey, on the western fringes of the city centre. For more information on Luxembourg City’s astonishing playgrounds, check out this article.
  • The Pont Adolphe is kind of hard to miss. By the way, the fairytale turreted building on the opposite side isn’t a castle at all, but actually – in true Luxembourg style – the headquarters of a local bank (!).
  • Kathy’s Cupcakery is located at 9 rue de Strasbourg, just a short hop from Luxembourg’s main train station. Cupcakes cost around €3.25 each and are truly delicious. It is very kid-friendly: when we visited, the staff made special (smaller, cooler) hot chocolates for the kids – always appreciated! They do take-aways too.
  • To get to the Pétrusse Skatepark (free) from the old city centre, descend on the lift from “Plateau St. Esprit” to “Grund”. When you come out, turn right along Rue Saint-Ulric, then right again into the park. Don’t forget to bring your own skateboard / micro-scooter / BMX since there is nowhere to hire one on-site.
  • The upper section of the Pfaffenthal Lift is found at the eastern corner of the city park, near the “Pescatore” building. The (much) lower entrance is just off Rue Laurent Ménager. It is free of charge, operating from 6am to 1am daily.

PIN IT!

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Daisy the bus (and four scooters and a very small bicycle) visited Luxembourg City in February 2018.

(c) 2018 Jonathan Orr

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Author: daisythebus

Family travel bloggers based in Luxembourg. We write about "off the beaten track" travel adventures with our four children. Expect to read about nature, outdoor activities, culture and alternative ways of discovering the world around us.

29 thoughts on “Scooters and cupcakes: An afternoon in Luxembourg City”

  1. That looks like such a fun day! I would agree to almost any activity if it ended with cupcakes! And I totally agree with your statement about needing some sort of plan. If we don’t have even the slightest plan, we usually end up doing nothing or wasting the day decided what to do. #citytripping

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  2. What a fun day out! Love how you tied in lots of different elements: the bridge, skatepark and of course the cupcakes! Well done! Hope Ash made a swift recovery. Thanks for linking #citytripping

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  3. Micro scooters are the best, we always take them on city breaks. I’m hugely jealous of that skate park, it’s so empty. All the ones near us are always heaving with older teens so my 12 yo feels intimidated and doesn’t stay. Perhaps it’s so empty because it’s so hard to get to, but long may that last for you. #citytripping

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    1. The skatepark was quiet because it was below freezing and during the February school holidays. Everyone in Luxembourg was either indoors or skiing in the French Alps 😀 That said, I have never seen it over-crowded, perhaps indeed due to its out-of-the-way location. Thanks for reading, and sorry that I have had nothing to add to #AllAboutFrance recently – maybe later this year!

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  4. Wow! I love everything about this trip. I love the little one voice “Are we nearly in the sky?”. That is so cute! I love how they have made good use of the space in the city here and the way you have took your kiddos is so amazing. This is what a City is – a multi-layered playground. Fascinating.

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

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    1. That’s a really lovely comment – thank you! Micro-scooters are indeed a brilliant way to explore cities with kids, turning them into – as you have eloquently stated – one big multi-layered playground. Greetings from chilly Luxembourg!

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree with your ethos on having a “bare skeleton of a plan” as you so eloquently put it. The most disasterous day trips we have had, have been the ones with no plan at all, and some of the best, have been the ones where we’ve done a little research and planning first, and then allowed room to be spontaneous once there. #CountryKids

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  6. I wholeheartedly agree with your ethos on having a “bare skeleton of a plan” as you so eloquently put it. The most disasterous day trips we have had, have been the ones with no plan at all, and some of the best, have been the ones where we’ve done a little research and planning first, and then allowed room to be spontaneous once there. #CountryKids

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks like an amazing city to explore with kids loved the little ones did it all on there micro scooters and the cupcakes look delicious. My little one would love the pirate ship how fab is that! Great tips. Mandy xxx#explorerkids

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  8. What a wonderful adventure! Sorry Ash got sick at the end but it sounds like he had a really wonderful time before that. #ExplorerKidsLinky

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  9. That sounds like quite an adventure! We’ve just invested in my first ever Mirco Scooter and I love it – my mummy wants to get one now! That giant Pirate ship is amazing, sorry to hear Ash was poorly but least you all got out in the fresh air x #ExplorerKids

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    1. It is such a brilliant way of exploring a city. I am actually surprised that more city tourist offices don’t lend scooters to visitors – much better than those cumbersome Segway thingies 😉 Thanks for reading.

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    1. Yeah, Ash is tough and is almost fully better. All this scootering immediately after having been bed-ridden for a day or two was just a bit much for him. 🙂

      And, yes, I suppose I was very quiet for a few months: the combination of a dreary winter, working AND studying for a PGCE, not to mention having four kids (but you know all about that already 😉 ).

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  10. I loved reading this and so heartwarming to find proof that you can enjoy nature and adventure in the middle of a busy capital city. That under-bridge cycle path is really something, what great town planning! Hope the poorly one recovered well? What a dedicated adventurer to keep going despite a previous fever. True Kids of the Wild! #CountryKids

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  11. I’ve never been to Luxembourg but it looks amazing. Winter is clearly very cold but the city looks so well set out and perfect for those micro scooters. mine used to love skate parks on their scooters when we visited grandparents, we don’t seem to have them around us in Cornwall. The one there looks so clean and empty and as for the cycle tunnel what fun that would be. I’d say the cupcakes were well earned. Such a shame about your poorly one but I’m sure a return trip will see you in the lift once more.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

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