Cologne Stories and Tips

Things to do in Cologne

Eau de Cologne fountain Photo, Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a great city for just wandering and exploring as the fancy takes you. There are bars, restaurants, cafés and ice-cream parlours virtually everywhere, so there is always a nice place to stop when you need rest and refreshment.

Hohe Strasse is a pedestrianised shopping area - in fact it is one of the main shopping areas and extends past the cathedral. It is particularly popular with tourists and contains many gift shops, clothing stores and fast food restaurants.

The Alte Markt is pretty and when we were there, it bustled with tourists and locals. We stopped to admire the Town Hall and the other old buildings lining the square. The Marktbrunnen fountain is the impressive centrepiece. In December the Christmas Market takes place in this area.

Glockengasse 4711, home to the world's first internationally acclaimed brand of perfume is the most well-known address in Cologne. It is also an important landmark.

In 1792 a monk presented a young couple - the Muelhens - with a wedding gift, a recipe for "aqua mirabilis" later known as eau de cologne. Wilhelm Muelhens founded a company to produce Eau de Cologne in Glockengasse - the original building is still there.

In 1796 during the French occupation of Cologne, all buildings were ordered to be consecutively numbered. The Muelhens house was given the number 4711 - this was later registered as the company's trademark in 1875. In the showroom they have a variety of souvenirs to buy and an Eau de Cologne running fountain.

The Heumarkt, another square very close to our hotel, was where we ate on Saturday evening. It was really lively - lots of German hen and stag parties celebrating in a lively, but good natured and fun way. We even saw a cycling-bar travelling around. People sat around the bar and pedalled as they drank with music playing.

Later on in the evening there were different performers in the square here - we enjoyed watching Swiss men playing huge alpine horns, while two of their compatriots juggled and tossed Swiss flags in the air.

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