Did you know that there are more than 70 castles in Luxembourg that have survived since the Middle Ages? What if we celebrated our wedding in one of them?
Kerstin looked quite surprised when she realized that I was not joking. We waited 13 years for same-sex marriage to be legalized in our country. It was time to have an exceptional wedding… and turn it in a true fairytale.
A couple of weeks later, we started our castle/wedding venue hunting in Luxembourg. And when our friends and family attended our wedding, we made them visit some more castles on the day after our wedding ceremony.
Exploring castles in Luxembourg was in the end… a quite personal affair! Here are our 10 favorites:
10. The Château de Clervaux
The first castle that popped in my mind was the whitewashed fairytale castle in Clervaux, located in Northern Luxembourg. I couldn’t remember when was the last time I had seen it, but I was probably a kid back then. Every time we drove down into the village of Clervaux, it caught me by surprise from afar. And it still did when Kerstin and I visited.
Dating back to the 12th century, the Clervaux castle is now divided into three different museums. One is dedicated to the Battle of Ardennes (World War II), another displays models of Luxembourgish castles, and the third one hosts the famous permanent exhibition “The Family of Man”, curated by Edward Steichen, when he was the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA).
Obviously there was no way to hold our wedding banquet in this castle. So we added it to the after-wedding-castle-hopping excursion with our guests. After all, what could be greater for the occasion than visiting an outstanding photography exhibit that focuses on peace and human brotherhood, and means to bond people and cultures around the world?
9. The Château de Bourglinster
Dating back to the 11th century, the Bourglinster Castle now houses one of the best restaurants in Luxembourg, and several banqueting halls for business and cultural events. Perfect for a wedding celebration, right? Unfortunately, the Bourglinster Castle was already booked on the date of our wedding!
8. The Château de Vianden
Also located in Northern Luxembourg, the Castle of Vianden is definitely the most famous castle in Luxembourg. While its origin dates back to the 10th century, most parts of this castle have been built, rebuilt and restored many times since the 11th century. Almost the whole castle can be visited throughout the year. So it was not possible to hold a private ceremony at its grounds.
But during the castle-hopping excursion with our guests the day after our wedding, we experienced an unforgettable moment in the Vianden Castle. When we arrived in the Knights Hall, one of our friends suddenly started singing an aria from the Marriage of Figaro opera as a surprise wedding present. That moment was so surreal and magical that we all listened in awe!
7. The Château de Meysembourg
The Meysembourg Castle is located about 2 km from Larochette in the middle of a thick forest. Since it’s privately owned, there was no way to visit it other than during special events, such as the annual National Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine). Definitely not suitable to be a wedding venue!
However, even if we couldn’t visit its interiors, it was worth to marvel at its beautiful Neo-Renaissance style façades. We crossed the wooden bridge spanning over a mysterious pond, and enjoyed the dappled shadows under the dense canopy.
6. The Château de Schoenfels
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Located in the Valley of the Seven Castles in Luxembourg, the Schoenfels Castle dates back to the 12th century. It’s currently being restored and is not open to the public. But since I drive by every day on my way to work and back, we once decided to stop there nevertheless.
We saw a couple of men working inside the castle, and expected them to send us away when we asked if we could visit. But after a friendly chitchat, they invited us in and let us explore the castle on our own. We climbed up the staircase to as high as we could – until the stairs ended abruptly in ruins! A unique experience, even if the place is not appropriate to be used as a wedding venue.
5. The Old Castle of Beaufort
Protected by a moat, the medieval fortress in Beaufort was built between 1150 and 1650. From mid-18th century onwards, it was so neglected that it soon crumbled in ruins. And at the beginning of the 19th century, it was even used as stone quarry!
I know, I know… not a wedding venue either. But we stopped there anyway, to re-explore the subterranean dungeon for old time’s sake. When Kerstin was a kid, she spent a lot of time in this old castle with her godmother. It was definitely in Beaufort where her love for old stones and castles started.
4. The Château d’Useldange
The Useldange Castle was not on the list of our potential wedding venues. In fact, parts of this castle now accommodate the offices of the municipal administration, and are thus open to visitors throughout the year.
Perched on a hill overlooking the River Attert, the Useldange Castle appears to date from the 12th century. However, it fell in total ruin in the 17th century. And it was only restored in the early 20th century, when the ruins were purchased by a native from Useldange, who returned to Luxembourg after emigrating to the USA at age 18.
We didn’t add this castle to the after-wedding excursion with our guests, but we later returned twice to explore it in depth. The best time to visit the Useldange Castle is definitely during the Medieval Festival in June. We climbed the 25 meter-tall central tower, which has been used as an echo chamber by generations of musicians in Useldange, who perfected their play by the reverberating sound. We were dazzled by the panoramic view on the top of the tower.
3. The Grand Château d’Ansembourg
When our wedding photographer asked us to pick a place for our engagement photos, we didn’t hesitate long before choosing the New Castle of Ansembourg.
Built in the 17th century, this castle is now owned by Sukyo Mahikari, a Japanese religious cult, who has undertaken substantial renovation works with the assistance of the State of Luxembourg. While the interior can only be visited during special events, the castle’s enchanting gardens with a labyrinth, several fountains and sculptures are open every day and can be visited for free.
Read our story to discover more about this castle’s idyllic gardens.
2. The Château d’Urspelt
Dating back to the 18th century, the Urspelt Castle in Northern Luxembourg is now a charmingly restored luxury hotel. We discovered it when we were looking for a venue to celebrate our wedding. The castle was covered with snow when we first spotted it from afar. Upon our arrival, we were welcomed in an elegant salon with chic furniture and an open fireplace. We felt so comfortable that we decided on the spot that this was THE perfect place to celebrate our marriage ceremony!
Our wedding took place on a scorching hot summer day, so we couldn’t take advantage of the cozy interior with fireplace. But the beautiful interior courtyard, the sumptuous gala room, and our romantic wedding suite with its little crenelated towers turned our special day into a true fairytale wedding.
1. The Château de Larochette
Our absolute favorite castle in Luxembourg is the Larochette Castle. The little town of Larochette – literally “the little rock”, also called “Fiels” in Luxembourgish – lies in the Mullerthal Region, which is famous for its impressive rock formations. Every year, thousands of hikers and bikers come to spend their vacations in the nearby camping grounds, and to explore the castle ruins dating back to the 11th century.
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If you have been following us on social media, you might have noticed that we regularly post photos of the Larochette Castle with the hashtag #homesweethome. Well, that’s because we live here! Not in the castle of course, but in the valley of this little town, where we get to see the main building of the castle, called the Maison de Créhange, from our balcony.
For our engagement photo session, we also hiked up there with our photographer. Now, whenever we go out for a walk, we make a little detour up to the promontory to capture the panoramic views of Larochette. And every time we end up entirely absorbed in the bliss of the present moment, or “the bliss of altitude”, as Gustave Eiffel once coined this vibrant feeling of freedom at the top!
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