The Backstreets Of 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.
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. But being in good health, and with a hankering to try the local cuisine, we decided to skip – and stick with our usual explorations – getting lost in alleyways and drunk on local grapes.
The old town (Altstadt) of Baden-Baden is quite 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 surprisingly 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 but forgoing for well trodden paths and mechanical marketing.
Many of the streets retain a sense of the Germanic charm. 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), but with a certain French flare that I’ve yet to encounter anywhere else in Germany.