Baden-Baden is a spa town in Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany near Karlsruhe and the French and Swiss border at the foothills of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest). The German word translates to “bathing, to bathe, or baths”. The local springs were known to the Ancient Romans and people came here for health cures - they still do. In the 1700’s Baden-Baden was rediscovered as a spa town. The popularity of the city as a spa dates from the early 1800’s when the Prussian queen visited the site to improve her health. The town rose to become a meeting place for celebrities, who were attracted by the hot springs and the famous Casino, luxury hotels, horse races, and beautiful gardens. Clients included Queen Victoria, Wilhelm I, Napoleon III, Berlioz, Brahms, Turgenev, and Dostoyevsky. Baden-Baden is a setting in Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” (though it is given a different name), as well as for Turgenev’s novel “Smoke”. Baden-Baden at that time was the European summer capital and reached its zenith under Napoleon III in the mid-1800’s. The Russian writer, Dostoevsky, wrote “The Gambler” here while compulsively gambling at the local Casino. Brahms’ residence, the Brahmshaus, can still be visited today.
Karlsruhe in Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany was founded in 1715 by Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden - it was laid out on the drawing board and consists of a central circle, containing the castle, and streets running towards the castle as radial “spokes” like the sun. The pattern is still visible today. It’s located near the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) and the French border. The local Rhein valley is the warmest part of Germany as it is only 115 m above sea level and it’s surrounded by the hills of the Black Forest and the Vogesen. There isn’t a lot of tourist traffic here as tourists generally gravitate towards Heidelberg (50 km) and Freiburg (100 km) with its well-preserved “romantic” old towns. Karlsruhe’s layout is one of the best early examples of New Urbanism architectural style. In food, try the local Flammkuchen (like thin crust pizza but with creme fraiche, bacon, onions), Käsespätzle (a special kind of pasta w/cheesy sauce), and Maultaschen (large ravioli-like things in broth or fried with onions).
Breisach is a town of about 16,500 inhabitants, situated along the Rhein river in the Rhein Valley, in the district Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany. It’s located about halfway between Freiburg and Colmar/France, and about 60 km north of Basel/Switzerland. A bridge leads over the Rhein to Neuf-Brisach in the Elsass (Alsace), France.