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The Moselle “in Your Ears”

Not everyone can know about history, history with a capital H as well as local history. But this knowledge is now available to everyone, simply by listening to “Lauschtouren”, free apps which guide walkers and provide tourist itinerary commentaries – and you can listen directly with your phone while looking out over the Moselle! This scheme has been made possible thanks to funding from the European Union’s Leader Programme.

Until this year, do you know what the difference was between the Moselle and the River Seine? The cruise boats that sail between Schengen and Wasserbillig are silent, unlike the Parisian sightseeing boats that provide constant commentary describing what tourists can see in the City of Lights! This comparison may raise a smile; however, it was this difference that started the process that led to Lauschtouren. “Passengers aboard boats on the Moselle were being given no information at all and we thought that was such a pity,” explains Nathalie Neiers, Manager of the Miselerland Regional Tourist Office.

Because once you understand a landscape, you’re able to enjoy it so much more. This holds equally true for walkers. The Moselle area is packed with walking paths; however, unless you’re able to use certified Tourist Office guides, it’s impossible to know about them all. And this means that guides are mostly used to lead group walks that are organised well in advance, and not for outings decided on the spur of the moment because the light happens to be particularly splendid that day.

Since the country is investing in a digital future, a digital solution seemed absolutely logical given that smartphones have many resources. Rather than creating an app just for itself, the Moselle region decided to become part of the Lauschtouren network, which is already operating in Germany and Belgium. If you use the Lauschtour app today, available free from the App Store and on Google Play, there are four guided tours available in French, Luxembourgish, English and German. Visitors can use them to explore Remich, Grevenmacher, Dalheim and, of course, to follow the routes taken by the cruise boats on the Moselle.

What was important for us was to create really lively content, while placing the emphasis on local culture.

The tool is extremely easy to use. Once you confirm your geolocation, the app will suggest walks closest to your location. The home page shows the length of the walk, how long it takes and also the start and end points of your circuit. Once the walk has been downloaded, the map is displayed. It is dotted with red points showing those places where the app will provide content. When you are on the boat, the app will make the phone vibrate to alert you that a commentary is available.

There’s a vast amount of information to be gathered! “We turned to local people who know all the anecdotes connected with these places,” Nathalie Neiers confides. “What was important for us was to create really lively content, while placing the emphasis on local culture.” There is a whole series of different stories which are told in Luxembourgish but are translated into the language of your choice. Among those with a story to tell are Monique Hermes, who knows Grevenmacher like the back of her hand, Thérèse Siebenaler who explains about making wine and the rules and regulations for producing crémant, Dany Kieffer, a Navitours Boats’ captain, Luc Roeder, the forest warden (and also winegrower in Rosport), a real expert on nature, as well as Michèle Risch, the archaeologist who talks about the Dalheim Roman site. A young girl, a pupil at the conservatory in Grevenmacher, even gets her violin out to play a tune and sing a traditional song.

There’s no doubt that by using this app your wanderings will take on a whole new dimension. The app designers have made a real effort to incorporate sounds and images into the explanations – bringing them even more to life. These stories may be very serious; others refer to local anecdotes that will make you smile.

Very shortly, two new circuits will be available. With one you can explore the spa town of Mondorf and the other one, covering the area around Manternach, will focus on the wealth of nature in the Moselle Valley. And already rumour has it that Schengen and Mertert-Wasserbillig are hoping to join the cohort too.

Napoleon, Via Agrippa, Shell Limestone and… a Lane Called Dog’s Behind!

GREVENMACHER: History that is all the more exciting as it is hidden away. Inside its ancient square-shaped fortifications, Grevenmacher reveals glimpses of its medieval past. Find its perimeter wall, admire its thousand-year-old watch tower which has since become the church’s bell tower or revive memories of the great fire of 1822 which destroyed almost half of this fortified city: the app will open your eyes to a town which has also seen Goethe and Napoleon pass through it.

REMICH: The true identity of the “Pearl of the Moselle” is not to be found along the Esplanade which runs alongside the Moselle. To feel Remich’s heart, you’ll have to venture beyond the bars and restaurants and into the labyrinth that snakes its way from the Dog’s Behind lane (Dem Honn hannen) to Porte Saint-Nicolas. You’ll walk past what was once a tannery, where craftsmen came together in the 19th century, and past the church which houses the relics of Saint Cunibert, who was born here and became Bishop of Cologne.

DALHEIM: Located in the foothills of the Moselle, Dalheim was called Ricciacum until the 5th century. Back then it was a stopping place along the Via Agrippa, which ran from the Mediterranean to the Rhine. Its theatre, which could seat 3,500 people, was rediscovered in the 1980s quite by chance when a pig farm was being built. Having turned into a rubbish tip, archaeologists even discovered the corpse of a murdered man with a fatal head wound.

CROISIERE: The country’s lowest point, at the mouth of the River Sûre (Wasserbillig, 130 m) but most importantly there are also superb views, in particular of the 240-million-year-old shell limestone cliffs of Nittel, Ahn and Stadtbredimus. In Wellen, on the German side, while a railway tunnel was being bored, the remains of 42,000-year-old mammoths were discovered! Nowadays, the Moselle is primarily a winegrowing area where we can admire a landscape perfectly shaped for producing great wines and there are wine cellars dotted along both sides of the river.

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