There’s a quaintness that wouldn’t be out of place in France here in Baden-Baden. The cobbled streets look up to iron balconies adorned with flowers, while grand promenades flourish onto boutique-laden streets with flashy façades and well-heeled patrons. The mix of Franco-Germanic architecture is thanks to the resort town’s location – just 20 miles from the French border and the city of Strasbourg.
Baden-Baden’s history sits with the Romans, who discovered the thermal waters that leak from the earth here. The spas are plenty and said to have all kinds of health benefits and healing properties. Being in good health, and with a hankering to try the local cuisine and wine, we decided to skip – and stick with our usual explorations – getting lost in alleyways and drunk on local grape varieties.
The old town (Altstadt) of Baden-Baden is simply beautiful. Quaint, colourful, quiet and explorable. Alleyways lead to ancient wells and stone steps to bolted doors. Traditional signage for shops, pubs and restaurants hang from perfectly prim walls and flora is abundant. As is typical of towns like these – the main streets are busy, full and restless throughout the year. However, take a single deviation down an alleyway without the boisterous echoes of a hundred tourists stood in loud-mouthed gasping awe at a mechanical beer arm, and you will find solitude and respite. In other words – the beauty the aforementioned are all looking for.
Many of the streets retain a sense of the Germanic charm that south Germany is well known for. All cobbled and rugged with old lanterns and the lingering odour of sizzling meat (though there was a bit of a street food event going in front of the casino when we were there..), but with a certain French flare that creates an endearing atmosphere that I’ve yet to encounter anywhere else in Germany. Also, as this is Germany’s most stylish and luxurious spa town (you won’t find many Germans….. ^,^) – you’ll note that many of the alleyways and roads of the old town are littered with restaurants and high-end boutiques – the riff-raff stay over in Kehl, perched, as it is, on the Rhine longingly staring at all the Viking River boats.
We loved our visit to Baden-Baden and will be going back for a few more strolls in the Altstadt and the beautiful Lichtentaler Allee, but for now enjoy the images and let us know what you think in the comments!