special Envoy in Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe was founded three centuries ago by margrave Karl (Charles III William of Baden-Durlach, who had dreamed of Versailles and the castle and the city that he built could be translated into French by the “rest of Karl”. Here, nature takes over. A large park, Stadtgarten, lake and botanical garden, leads from the station to the city centre. The baroque castle built in a sort of horseshoe, with nine aisles, like a sun, blazing rays of green forest side, and as many arteries posh side of town.

This urban range, surrounded by forested slopes, is a golden nugget of Baden, Karlsruhe was the capital city until it was incorporated, in 1952, Württemberg. Stuttgart succeeded him as head of the new Land. But this city of 300,000 inhabitants has kept its superb and his love of the woods and meadows that cover the fertile plain to the Rhine river, 8 km from the city.

The tram, unique in Europe, also use the railways and have for the last stop, a multitude of small villages in the Black Forest where it is good to walk on Sunday. Reign in the city bathed by nature, criss-crossed by trams and bikes tranquillity and balance. No wonder that Germany has chosen to host its two highest courts, the federal Court and the constitutional Court.

The castle of Karlsruhe in the baroque style. The Badisches Landesmuseum

• practical Work of the Bauhaus

It can also be inspired by this idyllic setting that the founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, disembarked in 1929 in the city, providing the area Dammerstock a subdivision in the architecture so creative that he almost did not resist the nazis came to power. In response, the masters of the Third Reich, chose to oppose their own design of individual houses in a kind of counter-development. Even today, a street separates these two styles that tell two stories in the same city.

The Bauhaus, Germany’s famous since January 1, the centenary, a current art major in Europe, was born in 1919. To this date, its founder, Walter Gropius presented a manifesto and created a prestigious school of art and design in Weimar. Ten years later, when he had left the directorate, he won an international competition, launched by the mayor of Karlsruhe, Hermann Schneider, to build a set of housing popular. Assisted various architects and his assistant, Otto Haesler, Gropius mena smoothly the project of 228 dwellings called “Dammerstock” such as one can see today.

• Ride enchanted

The architectural unity of the neighborhood is striking. To penetrate, it is necessary to walk in the streets traced the chalk line (Saarbrückerstrasse, Dammerstockstrasse, Danzigerstrasse), lined with small individual houses white and gray surrounded by a garden. Of rectangular bays and flat roofs bring light and modernity.

A sense of well-being suffuses the visitor who enters in the subdivision by the Waschhaus. This house in the ark was a kind of laundry. The inhabitants came to use the first washing machines. Since 1972, a firm of architects working on it, but it should not hesitate to proceed to the first door on the street side to watch the entrance, where nothing has changed. Door handles, glass, and inscriptions are still intact. “It was the first time in Germany that a city decided such a creation. Everything was new in every room: hot and cold water bathroom, central heating, kitchenette,” explains the art historian Nina Rind. And remember that “the Dammerstock was somehow among the first practical work of what was being taught at the Bauhaus”. Spared by the Second world War, which destroyed 40% of the city, the site has now been overprotected as a historical monument.

• From Bauhaus to national socialism

Very opposed to the Bauhaus, in which he blamed the spirit collectivist, the nazis had plans to cover the buildings sloped roofs, for germaniser this refined architecture of the 1930s. Before the cost of the operation, they eventually give it up and opted for the creation of a subdivision with a German-style said. Strolling around today on the other side of the Nürnbergerstrasse, true line of demarcation which separates it from the Dammerstock. Lined up like in a military parade, the houses are all almost identical to the guard-to-you (aim at the Speyererstrasse, for example the n° 16 to 28). Opulent and endowed with roofs in red tiles, we are far from the fluidity of the Bauhaus style. To the extent these houses are far from boring and even seem to be very cozy.

throughout the year 2019, the office of tourism of Karlsruhe organizes guided tours of the area designed by Walter Gropius and his followers. A ballad exciting, which says neither more nor less than the birth of a great artistic movement which even today the architecture and design in Europe continue to inspire. The Museum beim Markt (Karl-Friedrich-strasse 6) is a section devoted to the Bauhaus. One sees there in particular the kitchen to the apartments of the Dammerstock rise in situ, the furniture such as the armchair Wassily (Kandinsky), a chess game created by Walter Gropius, dishes, and other small objects of the everyday highly inspired by the school of Weimar.

• city centre digital

What a contrast between this post-modern neighbourhoods of the Bauhaus and the heart of the city! It is erected monuments of a pure Italian classicism, even to the point that the church Saint-Stéphane copy of the Pantheon in Rome. At the center of the Marktplatz, the tomb of Karl is surmounted by a pyramid of red sandstone that reminds of the distant descendants of his subjects, his delusions of grandeur. Of this last home has a breathtaking view of the palace, today transformed into a museum of history.

All around, the heart of the city is bustling, full of small gourmet addresses and shopping is a very provided (all around the Kaiserstrasse). Two other institutions which deserve the detour. The Kunsthalle art museum housed in a palace of historicism (Hans-Thoma-Strasse 2-6) and whose exceptional collection, in part collected by the family of the margrave of Baden, deserves a thorough visit. Among other wonders, of the great Rubens, and a whole room devoted to Lucas Cranach (see roadmap below).

The ZKM, a centre of art entirely dedicated to arts media. Pascal BASTIEN/Divergence

Other time other decor. It is a former factory of weapons that has invested in the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien), an art center, known for toute Germany, entirely dedicated to arts media Lorenzstrasse 19). “We are a kind of a Bauhaus of the digital, because all the arts are represented here, video games, sculpture, photography, etc, with the sole support of the media,” says Regina Hock, a spokesman for the institution is that through fun. Difficult not to be by the works of contemporary artists in which the algorithm has replaced the brush. The interactivity makes the course fun. The building is gigantic (15,000 m2) is home to a restore point, at a low price, a school of design, workshops of artists, in particular. Such a mixing of the population, generated by this diversity of activities, could not fail to colour the ZKM, a small air draft in which the Germans, however, were not familiar with. The access is free.



• COME Several TGV and ICE (German version of the high-speed train) connect Karlsruhe at the start of Paris-Is in 2: 30 and but also of Marseille with stops along the axis rhone valley. Otherwise aim for Strasbourg to 40 min.www.yes.sncf.comet www.bahn.de

• GOOD TABLES in a building In Bauhaus style, at the entrance to the suburb Dammerstock, on Nürnberger Strasse (no. 1), Erasmus is an excellent gourmet restaurant led by a chief speaking venison cuisine of the Black Forest nearby, and mushrooms. An address full of charm. Count around 50 €. Tel.: 00 49 721 40 24 23 91 ; www.erasmus-karlsruhe.deDans the centre of the town on the Hebelstrasse (n° 17) aim for Eigenart. Decor warm and welcoming, this table bistronomique makes the good share with the products from the market. It costs 30 €. Tel.: 00 49 721 57 03 443 ; www.eigenart-karlsruhe.de

• SLEEP The hotel offer is rather poor, exception made for the Novotel, a luxurious four-star hotel situated in the center in a stunning architecture of glass and concrete in the 1970s. The hotel, very custom, has beautiful rooms suréquipées and very clear. A fitness center with steam room, sauna and rest rooms brings an extra comfort to this beautiful hotel which features a restaurant and a lounge bar which serves a light cuisine. Around 100 €. Festplatz 2. Tel.: 00 49 721 35 260 ; www.accorhotels.com

• A LAST GLASS It is necessary to go in the area of Dörfle, on the other side of the Kaiserstrasse, in front of the university where there are a lot of bars of atmosphere, a little festive, as the Cafe Vienna on the Zähringerstrasse.

• EXHIBITION Drawings of French artists at the Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe (until 13 January). More than 120 works on paper from the museum’s rich collection are presented here, with drawings by claude Lorrain, Fragonard, Degas, Redon, etc www.kunsthalle-karlsruhe.de

• to PREPARE for HIS JOURNEY. www.karlsruhe-tourismus.deet www.germany.travel/fr

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