Following on from my somewhat popular article on “Moving to Luxembourg” here is one which looks at some of the things you will most likely need to do after arriving.
Just over the border in Konz (near Trier) are a number of furniture stores including Mobel Martin. Ikea has no shop in Luxembourg but again one is just over the border in Belgium. There are also a range of stores in Luxembourg itself which vary in price and quality. In general though delivery times are from 5-8 weeks for many stores. If you are in a rush then Ikea is a good option as they usually deliver quite fast. Also you can hire vans from most stores to takeaway items that are in stock (which for the local ones is not that often).
- Troc is the cheapest option and sells second hand goods, including furniture. Located in the city itself and perhaps 10 minute walk from the station. Prices are not always as cheap as they seem and seeing dismantled furniture is not always the best.
- Roller is a discount furniture retailer. Products vary from cheap (and they feel like it) through to items which are moderately priced and better quality than Ikea. This is located in Route d’Aron, Strassen but can be easily visited by bus.
- Conforama, a French chain, certainly a bit more expensive than Ikea but the build quality of many items leaves a bit to be desired. Look around and pull everything is my tip! Located in Bertrange after Route d’Arlon. They also sell electrical and other goods.
- Habitat, a bit on the expensive side but generally good quality. Located in the lovely Belle Etoile Shopping Centre.
- Mobel Alvisse with vastly varying ranges from €25 to €6000 chairs you will be sure to find something that fits your budget. The staff are very helpful and I didn’t spend €6000 on a chair.
There are a variety of chains from the German budget discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, through to the local Cactus and the Belgian Delhaize. You can also find Auchan and Cora. Auchan has almost anything and is part of a shopping mall where you can more or less find anything else. Cactus is a Luxembourgish company which usually is a bit more expensive and unlike it’s foreign counterparts does not do cheaper own brands. That said it does have a good customer service ethos and the staff are always helpful. Alima is another smaller Luxembourgish chain which is generally more expensive but occasionally is cheaper for certain items. They tend to be located in good (semi-)central and convenient residential locations. Match and it’s small cousin SMatch are also dotted throughout Luxembourg with many found in convenient residential locations. Also don’t forget about Co-operative de Bonnevoie which offers traditional attitudes, style and service. They are not the cheapest but do offer a good range of products and home delivery.
In the city the main shopping areas are Grand Rue, which houses some chains but also the more expensive shops. For more reasonable shopping prices check out the area near the railway station. There you will find Saturn (the German Electronics chain) along with it’s competitor Darty. There are also a few supermarkets and mid-market clothing stores.
Surrounding the city itself there are three main shopping malls: Cactus Belle Etoile (hideous architecture), Auchan and City Concorde. In the south of the city directly available by the 16 bus there is also Howald which offers a reasonable range of shops (including supermarkets and DIY). In larger Cactus locations they often sell more than food and includes DIY and electrical items.
It has to be said that while Cactus offers generally acceptable prices, good products and excellent customer service (a rare thing these days) it sadly suffers from the worst architecture of any major supermarket chain I have ever seen since the collapse of communism. Indeed one can only speculate that they obtained the style and concrete in bulk during the 70s from the USSR. They did try to update in the 80s to a fresh brown, smoked glass, gold and beige style, this sadly was the last major revamp. Large 80s brown rimmed sun glasses, with white Miami Vice shoes and polyester are the things to be seen in here. That said Cactus is refreshingly substance over style, even in it’s grey concrete brown way. In terms of style it was only bettered by the canteen of the now bankrupt Monopole chain which died in 2006. Their very 60s canteen near Gare was so retro it was featured in Lonely Planet or Rough Guides (I need to check). As I said though if you ignore the lack of style Cactus is certainly a good store. Also if you want to support local companies stick to them and Alima.
Every January Luxembourg hosts the new car auto fair, it’s a good time to pick up a bargin. If you prefer a used car then check out LuxAuto which lists both private and professional sellers.
Posting letters is not always the most exciting thing but fortunately P&T make it a bit easier as you can now order stamps online (with your own design) or print off standard ones; this saving a needless trip to the post office. They also offer a service called Pack-up which lets Amazon deliver all those important parcels to a 24/7 collection point (at most locations) what’s more this service is free. In general though P&T staff are friendly and helpful.
A quick update in terms of banking, BCEE (the state savings bank) is currently rated as one of the 7th safest on earth. Quite an important thing to note in these times of trouble, especially when you think about Cyprus.
I will add another article later when I can think of more things to write about.