LIFESTYLE - CULTURE

My district (1/10)

Fleur Thomas’ Ville Haute



British Ambassador to Luxembourg Fleur Thomas shown in the British residence garden Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne

British Ambassador to Luxembourg Fleur Thomas shown in the British residence garden Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne

British Ambassador to Luxembourg Fleur Thomas, who arrived in the grand duchy in April, shares a few of her favourite new discoveries close to her residence overlooking the Pétrusse Valley.

Now home to Ambassador Thomas and her cat, Millie, the official residence is located on the Boulevard Franklin Delano Roosevelt and has been home to British ambassadors since the 1950s.

Ambassador Thomas told Delano more about the history of the house, which was purchased by the British government in 1955 after being privately owned. The house was built around the late-1800s on land which had freed up following the dismantling of the fortress and departure of the Prussian garrison, following the second Treaty of London of 11 May 1867. Today it also contains “some very fine paintings from the Government Art Collection,” Ambassador Thomas adds. “I really hope to be able to offer some guided tours later in the year.”

She also admits, “I’m very lucky, of course, to live in one of the most beautiful and grand houses in the city.” And most visitors can’t help but marvel as well at the residence’s garden and terrace, with its sweeping views over the Pétrusse Valley towards the iconic turret of the Banque et caisse d'épargne de l'État (BCEE) Spuerkeess building on the opposite side of the Pont Adolphe.

Over the years, many guests have absorbed the views during events hosted there, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday celebrations, or when the British Chamber of Commerce fêted its 25th anniversary with Jude Law, to name just a few examples.

“The garden is also a real feature of the house, and I often see tourists peeking their heads over the gate,” Ambassador Thomas explains.

As the ambassador had told Delano upon her arrival that she’s keen on foraging, it should come as no surprise that she has been focused on attracting more wildlife into the residence garden since her arrival. Planters, nesting boxes and a watering system have been installed, plus “the new squirrel feeder has been a real hit for the resident red squirrels.”

So far, she says, the efforts have attracted a wide range of species, from lizards to birds like nuthatches and woodpeckers. “I think increasing biodiversity is so important, not just because the UK is hosting the important COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November this year, but because I’ve always lived in the countryside,” Ambassador Thomas says. “I really believe that cultivating even a little bit of greenery and encouraging wildlife is really good for your mental health, as well as important for the planet.”

She has enjoyed taking in the views herself, watching passers-by on the bridge, listening to the songbirds and generally observing the nature around her--on occasion enjoying a glass of Luxembourgish wine, the gold medal awarded Henri Ruppert Riesling being amongst her latest finds.

Even if she has been enjoying her new residence, she has also found a few new discoveries along the way, included in our map below.