Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hello, Châteaux: Larochette Castle

Samschdeg, 10 Oktouber.

Can you believe that I have been in Luxembourg over a month? (My official "one month" mark is tomorrow, but I've technically already hit the four-week mark.) In honor of this anniversary -- and, more accurately, in recognition of the fact that nice weather is getting increasingly hard to come by -- I spent today on an incredible outdoor adventure!

Catherine, another Fulbrighter, and I decided to head north to central Luxembourg for some hiking and sightseeing. The first stop on our list was Larochette Castle, known as Buerg Fiels in Luxembourgish.

Uh. Maze. Ing.

In addition to Larochette, we also visited Beaufort Castle and returned to Echternach to do some border-hopping ... but you'll have to wait a little bit for those posts!

We arrived in Larochette and wasted no time in locating the famous castle. (It's not exactly easy to miss!) From the center of town, it takes about ten minutes to walk to the top of the hill ... or fifteen, if you stop every five feet to take photos like some castle enthusiasts I know.

Autumn in Luxembourg is proving to be absolutely breathtaking and the views from Larochette Castle were no exception. The castle is located a mere 150 meters above Larochette, but all the noises and colors of the town faded away as we climbed the short trail up to the castle.

There's not a whole lot of information out there about Larochette Castle, but it is believed to have been built during the eleventh century, as this is the first time that the historical record includes mentions of the "Lords of Larochette." However, the castle did not just belong to the Larochette nobles! In fact, during the fifteenth century, there were FIVE separate noble houses living within the castle walls. As a result, the site features multiple dwelling places -- including the Maison du Hombourg (built in 1350) and the Maison de Crehange (built in 1385). Although the whole castle was destroyed by a fire in the sixteenth century, the two newer structures were restored in the 1980s when the state took control of the site.

A miniature model of the castle (located in one of the restored buildings, pictured above) shows what the site looked like at its peak. It's hard to reconcile this image with that of the overgrown ruins. but it gave me a sense of exactly how large and imposing the Burg Fiels must have been. In contrast, much of what remains of the castle today is held up by steel supports.

Mostly, we enjoyed running around and taking photos. The castle grounds were essentially empty -- perfect conditions were running around and climbing on ruins and basically acting like small children. I was particularly excited to discover several me-sized doorways! (Gotta love those short medieval Luxembourgers.)


I couldn't get over the adorable sloping gardens. How cute are they?

After visiting the castle itself, we attempted to hike around Larochette. There's a trail called the L2 that goes all around Larochette -- the town, the castle, and yet ANOTHER castle called the Château de Meysembourg. (You can read all about it on the Mullerthal Trail website.) Sounds great, right? Except you might notice that I said "attempted". Because, well, we failed. And not only did we fail to hike the L2 trail ... we couldn't even FIND it!

A little disappointed that we wouldn't be crossing another castle off our list, but eager to explore Larochette (and to prove that we hadn't donned our stretchy pants in vain), we headed out on the marked trails that we COULD find. And you know what? We wound up having a marvelous time! The woods around Larochette are full of short trails, each with incredible views of the town and castle.


As you have probably noticed, the town of Larochette itself is, in a word, small. Small stores. Small houses. Small streets. (So small, in fact, that our bus driver literally knocked one of his side mirrors while trying to squeeze past another car.) But it's incredibly charming and quirky -- this weekend, they were celebrating their annual Questchefest, or Plum Festival.

Plus, Larochette is easily accessible by car or by public transportation. We were able to get there in about an hour by taking a train and then a bus from Luxembourg City. For more information on how to get to Larochette, check out the town's tourism site. The castle itself is only open during the warmer months, from March 15 to October 31 (with extended hours and guided tours during the summer).

Looking for more information about castles in Luxembourg? You're in the right place! Click to find all the posts in the "Hello, Châteaux" series, which highlights visits to famous (and not-so-famous) castles all over Europe.


  1. Merci pour toutes les photos et commentaires. J'adore! :-)

  2. Loved all this visit and my German friend hopes you had some of the special cake at the Questchefest; it's her favorite. Thanks for sharing. Castles for our Princess? Of course there are.