This week, Midnight Weekly is taking a trip to the German city of Frankfurt. Less renowned than Berlin and Hamburg, this city on the River Main (to which it owes its full name, Frankfurt am Main) turns out to be a properly tranquil place to spend a long weekend. Europe’s third financial capital – after London and Paris – is also a place of simple pleasures, refinement and a whole of culture.
Start off your trip by heading south of the Main to the Museumsufer (literally, the bank of museums). As the name suggests, this tranquil neighbourhood brings together a bunch of significant museums including the Deutsches Filminstitut and the Städel. Those are all worth a visit, but there’s one, even better reason to head over to this side of the city. Every Saturday morning, the riverbank hosts an immense flea market (a little-known German passion) which lends itself perfectly to a casual stroll.
Now that you’ve soaked up the vibes a bit, we’d recommend ordering something tasty at the restaurant Emma Metzler. Helmed by chef Anton de Bruyn, this bistro serves up dishes as creative as they are beautiful. The decor – all white walls and colourful works of art – is pretty stunning too (and a decent complement to the many brilliant art collections in the area). Bonus: the staff are extremely attentive.
After that, cross the Main again and head to the Museum für Moderne Kunst. This Frankfurt institution boasts a mesmerising collection including works by Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter. But that’s not all. The building’s original architecture, by the Viennese architect Hans Hollering, is also worth checking out. It’s even won the museum the nickname the ‘slice of cake’. Happily, the art contained within is far more impressive than the sobriquet.
Next up, head to the Berger Straße. This giant, three-kilometre-long street is the best place to buy unique things in Frankfurt. On top of its slew of traditional boutiques, it’s home to an array of outlet stores, small independent creators and boutiques that swerve from the original to the improbable. In short, it’s impossible to go away empty-handed.
If you’re an aficionado of German gastronomy, you should follow up your shopping trip with a visit to the Kleinmarkthalle. This large covered market, on Hasengasse street, holds obviously, a rich selection of sausages, several of which will dazzle you with their delicacy and originality.
It’s now time to visit the city’s historic centre, the Römerberg. In this neighbourhood of quaint half-timbered houses, the atmosphere is radically different. From the town hall that dates back to 1405 to the famous fountain of justice, each structure is a voyage in time. It’s also a good excuse to head over to the neighbouring Sachsenhausen area to discover the city’s official drink, which no, isn’t beer. It’s a cider named Apfelwein, or Ebbelwoi, and is a delicious, lightly alcoholic drink that recalls its Breton sibling, while having a charm all of its own.
Round off your trip with a visit to the restaurant Gustav. This two-Michelin-starred establishment offers a fantastic window into German gastronomy. The kitchen serves up dishes that explore forgotten cooking methods, fragrances and flavours, and the presentation is always exquisite. A real experience, well worth the not-even-that-high prices.