The discovery of Basel was a real surprise for me. Located on the banks of the Rhine at the crossroads of the three borders Switzerland, France and Germany, it is a real gem. The third largest city in Switzerland, behind Zurich and Geneva, is not very well known at the tourist level, which is very surprising. It is true that when we think of a trip to Switzerland, we first imagine its mountains and natural landscapes rather than cities. Yet Basel is definitely worth the detour! It has the charm of a village while having the cultural assets of a great metropolis, with in addition the splendid natural setting of the banks of the Rhine in which one can even bathe! It’s really an ideal destination to discover on a weekend, or more if you have the time,
1 / The cultural capital of Switzerland
With a total of 40 museums, Basel has the highest density of museums in Switzerland. Every year, in mid-June, it becomes the world capital of contemporary art with the holding of Art Basel, the largest living room of modern and contemporary art in the world.
One of the most famous museums is the Fondation Beyeler , which presents a collection of 200 works of art including Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Warhol … The building was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and presents a beautiful harmony between Art, architecture and nature with the garden and the surrounding fields.
Until 1 October 2017, the temporary exhibition is dedicated to photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. Then, it will be the abstract painter Paul Klee until January 21, 2018. Prices and practical information .
Plus: Lunch at the restaurant in the Foundation Park, Berower Park Restaurant. When the weather is nice, you can eat in the garden overlooking the sculptures of Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly. Fine cuisine with seasonal products (around CHF 30 for lunch).
The other museum I really liked was the one dedicated to Jean Tinguely, one of the most original Swiss artists of the 20th century with his mobile mechanical sculptures. We know him well in Paris because he made the Stravinsky fountain near Beaubourg, in collaboration with his wife, Niki de Saint Phalle. Like the Fondation Beyeler, the Tinguely Museum was also created by one of the world’s leading architects, the Swiss Mario Botta. Again, it fits very well with the surrounding garden, where you can see sculptures like that of Niki de Saint Phalle.
The most impressive piece of the museum Tinguely is the work “Utopia”, its real name “Big Meta-Maxi-Maxi-Utopia”. With 140 m2 of floor space, it is a sculpture-machine over 4 meters high, which can be climbed by stairs and mechanical walkways. There is an incredible system of wooden wheels and pieces of metal that move when you operate the mechanism. A great visit for children, as for adults elsewhere …
In addition to visiting the museum, or if you do not have time to go, you should at least visit the Tinguely fountain, close to the old town.
The idea a little crazy: we can return to the Tinguely Museum to swim, diving into the Rhine … But that I talk about it further!