Artwork & Museums Combine With Great Nightlife, Dining & Shopping
The problem with artistic cities and towns is, of course, that they are full of artists.
And artists can be, well, kind of clickish. They will welcome fellow artists as if they are one of their own but if you are like the rest of us and just kind of peering in from the outside, then they brush you aside like a broad paint stroke.
Artists communities also tend to be a bit rundown, their hangouts in dimly-lit creaky old buildings. I always get the feeling that those places could be spruced up with a good coat of paint but artists seem to paint everything BUT where they hang out and live.
Pristine Clean & Fun Framed By Sculptures & Creativity
But not so in Basel, Switzerland!
Here is a city that is an artists’ haven and has sculptures and creative architecture pieces, yet is pristine clean, modern and – get this – lively and fun.
Located in the northern part of central Switzerland with the Rhine River serving as the border for two countries – France and Germany – Basel somehow manages to unite artists and the more cosmopolitan mindset into a single, fairly compact existence.
You can see the effects of the artists nearly everywhere, from the unique “moving” fountain (the Tinguely Fountain) to the creative hole in a roof over a tram stop, and of course the museums. Its Kunstmuseum has the largest and most significant collection of art in Switzerland and in 2016 features the “Sculpture on the Move” (thru Sept. 18) and The Figurative Pollock (Oct. 1-Jan. 22).
Art Basel (June 16-19) brings together the world’s top galleries and their patrons for a three-day event.
There’s even a lookout where artists gather on nice days to paint the passing landscape.
While all this sounds like paradise to an artist or upscale art collectors, what about the rest of us travelers who might stop and stare briefly at a sculpture or piece of artwork, give it a brief, “hmmm,” or “that’s really interesting” then move onto something more to our liking?
Well not to worry because Basel has us covered, as well. It has all the high-end shopping anyone would ever desire, excellent restaurants and lively nightlife; in fact, Paddy Reillys is one of Europe’s best Irish bars.
But the best part of Basel’s devotion to art but not obsession, is that while you are surrounded by art and artists, you are never consumed by it or them. You have the freedom stop and look for a few moments, then move on without the fear of having the artists stare at you as if you are an unwelcome trespasser.
And that’s a very welcoming feeling in Basel.