Located close to the city centre, Limpertsberg is a neighbourhood that encompasses residents, business, culture and education. We experienced it all over the course of one day.
07:47 – Roll on youth
Things are busy in secondary school
No less than six secondary schools (some of which are secondary schools for vocational training) are located in the Limpertsberg district and offer various courses to a population of young students residing in the capital and the rest of the country. Uniquely for Luxembourg the Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers offers a diploma to become an image technician. “It’s a four-year course during which we look at the technical and artistic aspects of photography and video, shooting, editing, sound and light,” explains Serge Benassutti, a teacher at the school. Young people learn to handle the equipment, create special effects and work with projectors and various technical software packages.
Noah and Diego, 19, and Alexandre, 17, have been impressed by the course: “We try out a lot of different things and explore different potential professions,” said one. “We have done real production work, it is very rewarding,” says another. “We have equipment of a professional standard too,” adds the third. If they have little contact with students from other schools, they like the neighbourhood they are studying in. “We are close to the centre”, “there are lots of young people here” and “there’s a good selection of inexpensive snack bars and restaurants,” they say.
09:21 – Say it with flowers
What’s important is a rose
The Klopp family has been in the flower business for four generations. The family business continues to thrive under present owner Marc who has four greenhouses. The flowers grown and sold vary greatly according to the season he explains. “At the moment, because it’s winter, Christmas roses, heather and skimmia are the most sought after varieties. In summer we get many more requests for wedding bouquets, many of them composed of white flowers.” But the variety of flower the florist prefers himself are tulips and buttercups, which he likes “because of their huge range of colours.”
Marc Klopp’s business is located in an area that has a history of rose-growing and producing flowers that were exported around the world. It all started in 1855 when two young gardeners, Jean Soupert and Pierre Notting, established a nursery there and created rose varieties that won medals in competitions. At the end of the 19th century the entire plateau was covered with fields of roses and more than 200 varieties were grown there. Visitors can find out more about story of the rose fields by going on a “rose trail itinerary” offered by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office.
5, avenue de la Faïencerie
12:18 – Hungry like the wolf
At lunch time stomachs are crying out in hunger. Luckily the area is full of restaurants for all budgets offering very different cuisines. The mix of offerings can be sampled at the Mont-Saint-Lambert, which is named after the district. Most people have forgotten in fact that in Luxembourgish Lampertsbierg means “the mountain of Lambert”. This inn with its red facade evokes local traditions yet inside Asian is the food on offer. Chen Chong took over the business from his parents and serves classic Chinese dishes, fried noodles, spring rolls and dim sum. The 10 euros menu of the day attracts large numbers. “You can feel the pulse of neighbourhood life here throughout the day,” he remarks. Later in the day his associate Antoine Prignon takes over at the stove. The Belgian is keen for people to get to know the beers of his country and sample the well-chosen wine and spirits list.
If you prefer outdoor eating you can also buy a sandwich at Monop’ supermarket for example and go and enjoy it on a bench in the peaceful Tony Neuman Park. That way lunch can be combined with a walk around this beautiful green space filled with interesting sculptures.
97, avenue du Bois
16:32 – Third age
An apartment with a view
The Tramsschapp Residence was built ten years ago for people aged 60 years and over. “It’s not a nursing home, there are no caregivers on site, but home help services come to visit many of our neighbours,” explains Michel Federspiel who has lived there with his wife Monique since February 2006. The couple, now aged 73 and 74 respectively, lived for a long time in Crauthem before deciding to settle in town. “Looking after a house with three floors had become very tiring,” recalls Monique. “When we saw an ad in the press for this new building, we decided to take the plunge. But we wanted a corner apartment on the third floor,”
Years later, they are still very happy to be there and make the most of the neighbourhood: “You can do everything on foot here: go to Cactus, the bakery or the newsagent. There are doctors, a chemist, banks and a post office.” The only downside is “the dozens of buses that pass by our windows heading for the local schools, but since our bedroom is at the back it’s not too bad.”
The Federspiels know most of their neighbours – the residence has 32 apartments – but don’t see them very often. “There is a common room downstairs but no one really uses it. People feel very comfortable in their own homes,” says Mr. Federspiel who, when not walking around the local park, goes swimming and to the sauna on a regular basis. “We are still in good shape so we help others who need it. But if our health were to deteriorate, we know we have a place at the Pescatore Foundation.”
19:30 – Going to the pictures
Shedding light on our cinemas
The world of cinema has changed a lot since 1983 when a group of film buffs opened the Ciné Utopia in a garage. Today it has five screens and 720 seats and the programming is made up of arthouse films and quality cinema from around the world. Projectionist Laurent De Freitas has seen his profession change radically over the years. “Nowadays there isn’t a film or reel in sight, it’s all digital,” he says, having started his career in film theatres. Laurent’s job consists in programming the sequence of films and following the de-encryption or unlocking procedures established by distributors in order to prevent piracy. He manages the screenings for 15 cinemas in Luxembourg and Longwy and is quick to form an opinion about a film. “We realise very quickly what will work or what won’t based on the audience numbers in early screenings.” He can also tell the difference between the audiences who attend the various cinemas belonging to the Utopia Group. “Here at Ciné Utopia we get a lot of families, locals and older people, film buffs who like the convivial and cosy side of cinema-going. Some have their fixed spot in the cinema or favourite showing.”
22:05 – Nightcap
On the other side of the tracks
If there is one spot that deserves the title of neighbourhood bar it is the Café des Tramways, named for the former tram depot nearby. Despite successive changes in ownership it has remained a favoured bar among regulars, “even if every time it changes hands we have had to get used to it all over again,” says Ian de Toffoli, an author and editor who has been frequenting the café for 20 years. It is his parents who initiated him to the place having gone there for as long as he can remember themselves. “It is a sort of family tradition that we use it as an informal meeting place,” he says.
The wood-lined and frescoed interiors, the cheerful service and the snack menu have made it a very popular hangout. People of all ages meet here, some straight after work, others before going to the cinema or after having gone to the theatre. “I can come here alone without feeling uncomfortable, sometimes I come just for a coffee or to take a break during the day,” he adds. “Many of my projects started life here, be they holiday plans drawn on the back of a coaster, books I am proofreading or even contracts I am signing.”
Café des Tramways
79, avenue Pasteur
Photographers:Sven Becker, Mike Zenari