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VIANDEN ....Several people tell me that if you go to Luxembourg City, you should take a side trip to Vianden. It doesn't have the reputation as the most charming little village in Luxembourg for nothing. First sight of the village is one of life's breath taking moments. The car passed around a mountain curve and suddenly the castle, with its village nestled around it, was there. No warning. No preparation. No breath.

Probably getting its name from the Celtic word for rock, vien, this fairy tale village is much more than a rock. A small fort was in Vianden back in the Roman times. Work on the castle dates to the 9th, 11th, 12th and 15th centuries. In spite of all that work, in much of recent history, the castle was in ruins. An earthquake, fire, and various owners didn't help the castle any. However, when it was finally ceded to the state in 1977, restoration work began. Many rooms are now renovated to their medieval splendor. And, the roof is now back on.

But, it isn't just the castle that brings people to Vianden. It truly is a charming little village that wraps itself around the base of the castle. In the Middle Ages it was filled with tanners, drapers, weavers, barrel makers, masons, locksmiths and goldsmiths. And, it is still beautiful to stroll, and it deserved much more time than a late afternoon visit. No wonder Victor Hugo loved the village. He stayed there on several occasions (including his exile in 1871. Victor didn't like Napoleon III and was vocal about it.) Of course, his home is now a museum.

MARTIN

Victor Hugo by day (and scroll over by night)  
Copyright 2010 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.