Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We recently visited Clervaux, an amazing little town in the north of Luxembourg with -- what else? -- a beautiful castle, and a fantastic photography exhibit to boot.

Here's the castle:

Here's the American tank in front of the castle:

Bit of history:  this is the tank that protected the castle from the Nazis.  Unfortunately, it didn't defend it very effectively and the chateau was badly damaged.  It has, however, been thoroughly restored.

The thoroughly puzzling tourist office sign:

The tourist office was closed or else I would've been compelled to go in and ask why on earth their sign was adorned by a witch on a broomstick.  Any ideas??

The photo exhibit, The Family of Man by Edward Steichen, was phenomenal.  Seriously, it was amazing.  It's a collection of 503 photographs from 273 different photographers, representing life in the 1950s.  The photos are arranged by themes (birth, childhood, work, music, etc.) and demonstrate how all mankind is one big family.  You should go see it!  I plan to go back -- without children.  They were more interested in hiding behind the giant photographs than in appreciating their content.  Go figure.

The kids were slightly more interested in another museum housed in the chateau -- miniature models of the best castles in Luxembourg.  Kate thought they were adorable, and Will thought it was a good way to see a lot of castles without actually having to go there.

Clervaux also has a Battle of the Bulge Museum and a Toy Museum, but we skipped those.  Don't ask me why we skipped the toy museum, I really don't remember.  Maybe next time!


  1. I wanted to go last weekend, but got outvoted by The Spouse who wanted to focus on house chores. I'm going on Saturday instead . . . without him, sadly, as he has business across The Pond.

  2. So far, Clervaux has been one of my favorite day trips. I think you'll enjoy it!

  3. I totally had the same question when I went there a few weeks ago - what's with the witch and broomstick? And the tourist office was closed...I'll have to google it!

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  5. Alex, I just googled it, and here's what I found from http://www.luxembourg.co.uk/clervaux.html:

    Through the impetus given by the powerful Brandenbourg house, many extensions to the town were built at the start of the 15th Century. In order to protect the southern side, Frédéric de Brandenbourg had the enormous Burgundy Tower constructed, which also contained a prison. A little later, larger accommodation quarters, a network of cellars, and -in the first court of the castle- the Tower of the Witches - intended to guarantee the defense of the castle - were built. Today this tower houses the tourist reception desk.

    So that kind of explains it, but not really. I wonder why it was called the Tower of the Witches?

  6. As for visiting again . . . I went today and the Nice Lady at the Desk said in September the exhibit will be closed for "a couple of years" for renovation . . .

  7. Oh no! Closed for a couple of years?? I better get on it. September will be here all too soon.