You sneak across the border by following the river. The footpath winds through the valley, meadows, and the still-lifting fog. A rabbit hops across the trail in front of you. Two roe deer hunt for early fruit in an orchard. The surrounding hills are covered with a thick forest. Vines and leaves blanket the ruins of old fortresses. While castles’ towers peek above the tree line. You finally made it to Luxembourg.
You’re in the Valley of the Seven Castles. To reach this enchanting area, you crossed the Belgian border, found the Eisch river, and followed the Stage Trail, a National Footpath. The 37-kilometer trail starts near Eischen, dips down to Steinfort, and rises to Mersch. It passes seven castles, as the name suggests, and one gorgeous lookout point after another. You’d planned on walking the entire trail. Then you reach Ansembourg.
The little village of Ansembourg is home to not one, but two, of the valley’s seven castles. The construction of the New Castle of Ansembourg began in 1639. It’s beautiful grounds are filled with French gardens and fruit trees, grand fountains and lots of statues. But it’s the Old Castle of Ansembourg, one kilometer higher in the hills, that captivates you.
The Old Castle of Ansembourg looks like an eagle’s nest atop a cliff. It’s surrounded by 500, mostly wooded, acres. The stone castle and its fortifications were built in the 12th century. Gates, a keep, and the main entrance were added later. You learn all of this from the Count of Ansembourg, who still resides at the castle. You get to stay here as well, since the castle is also a small hotel now.
There are only six guest rooms at Hotel Temps d’Or. They perfectly marry Old World charm with modern conveniences. Your Master Bedroom, a light-filled suite, has a Hypnos bed, a walk-in pebble shower, and, most importantly, views of the valley. The jacuzzi and the wooden deck—where you’re heading with a glass of wine—have similar views. It feels like you stepped out of Belgium and into a fairytale.