Baden-Baden, a spa, art and media town on the French border in south-west Germany. Accompany Heini the dachshund on a tour of this beautiful place.
For decades, Baden-Baden was dominated by the image of a slightly stuffy, upmarket spa town, where wealthy grannies with Rodenstock sunglasses met dolled-up ladies from Moscow. The venerable grand hotels and private clinics along the beautiful Lichtentaler Allee central boulevard matched this image. The horse racing week in nearby Iffezheim or the annual motor cars Oldtimer meeting provided the appropriate entertainment. The amiable guests were well catered for, but the thoroughly relaxing charm did not seem particularly promising for the future. The noticeable dip in the Russian business (EU embargo! Putin patriotism!) also caused a fundamental rethink, for the much-vaunted place of longing of Dostoyevsky, Gogol and Turgenev suddenly had to look to the future.
Reflection on the familiar and timeless
Generation change de luxe with cuckoo clock collection, DJ pulpit on the rooftop bar with Black Forest view, Bollenhut and avant-garde as mixer! An infectious idea – prediction: It will work!!! Here, traditions and the Belle Époque meets the Age of Instagram. And nature.
Ivan Turgenev wrote to Gustave Flaubert: “Do come to Baden-Baden. Here are the most magnificent trees I have ever seen. They do wonders for the eyes and the soul.” Like Turgenev, Heini the dachshund and I also like this. We start our morning walk along Lichtentaler Allee, the lovely tree-lined promenade that adjoins the Oos, which snakes through Baden-Baden – more babbling brook than river with several artfully crafted bridges that add an extra visual charm.
We see a heron standing in the water, watching the bank and brook closely in the hope of breakfast. It is a perfect way to acclimatise to the town.
Let’s go first of all to the Gönneranlage rose garden, a jewel box of a park that features more than 400 varieties that bloom from May to October – or maybe to Cafe König for a wonderful slice of Black Forest cake (I can eat Black Forest cake in the morning, for lunch, at night.) We’ll just do both, and why not?
Well fortified, we continue on our way! A whiff of Chanel wafts through the elegant city centre, international designer labels, jewels, exquisite antiques, fine wines and caviar, galleries and a pop-up gallery on the second floor of the shoemaker’s workshop of a bespoke shoemaker who, like for example the Museum Frieder Burda, strives for interaction under the sign of art!
Friends of art and culture will find a lively cultural scene in Baden-Baden with countless museums, concerts and events. Opera, cabaret, modern art, jazz lounge or pop concert. Baden-Baden is not only home to important institutions such as the Festspielhaus, Kurhaus or the Museum Frieder Burda, but also to many small stages, exhibitions and events that make for a lively cultural scene.
Heini and I now take a quick walk through the Hector Berlioz grounds at the Festspielhaus. Wonderful panoramic walking tours, gladly with a picnic basket, invite you to wonderful excursions. Start in the middle of the city! Right here! By the way, mental occupation also keeps the dog fit in the head and makes him balanced.
Past the Trinkhalle and the Casino – even if you don’t want to risk losing your euros at the roulette wheel, the famed Casino Baden-Baden is worth a visit for its opulent design and its importance to the town’s history – we stroll back!
Heini would like to show you so much more, but he has to take time to rest and recover. You can find more suggestions here, there are many beautiful things to discover and enjoy in and around Baden-Baden!
An annual decluttering of mind and soul is always worthwhile. This is a tradition in many parts of the world, an ancient ritual, and so it is in Baden-Baden. Victoria Beckham and her husband David also like to come and relax with meditation, hikes and/or bicycle tours. For the detoxification of body and mind, Victoria and David have made a return visit to the exclusive Villa Stephanie. She says.” I’ve learnt a lot about food and diet since we’ve been coming here that has influenced how I eat at home too. The food is superhealthy (and delicious)!”, the Englishwoman praising the nutritional awareness of the leading hotel in the Oetker Group.
We have enough good feelings for a positive start to the day through spiritual nourishment, Black Forest cake and a nice walk. Let us become more attentive to what touches our heart and soul. Intact nature without destructive cultural practices is possible, come and see for yourself!
And what do we have for lunch? A good glass of Baden wine, of course!
You can find more suggestions here, there are many beautiful things to discover and enjoy in and around Baden-Baden!
Lead image By A.Savin (WikiCommons) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44280686 (edited – cropped); all other photos as credited