Saarbrücken is a city of about 200,000 people right along the French-German border. Earliest records of a settlement in the area date back more than a thousand years, but the population remained insignificant until mining began in the late 18th century. Today the city is home to spectacular Baroque architecture, as well as several stunning old churches and bridges. It also has excellent cultural institutions, plenty of parks and gardens and a distinctive flair that hints at a strong French influence.
Start your tour of the city at the Alte Brücke or Old Bridge, built by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1546. Make your way to the 13th-century St. Arnual church to gaze at the Gothic architecture. Around the church you’ll find rows of late medieval houses as well as a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the area.
Move on to Fröschengasse, where you’ll find a collection of old workers’ cottages that now house boutiques and cafes. Once you’ve enjoyed a hearty meal, head to Ludwig’s Church and gaze up at its Baroque façade, designed by Friedrich Joachim Stengel. Explore the surrounding plaza and Saarbrücken Castle to see further buildings by the same architect. The castle suffered damage in various wars, but has been immaculately refurbished and is open for tours and community events.
Be sure to check out the Prehistory and Early History Museum to see stone-age artifacts or drop by the Regional History Museum to learn about Saarbrücken’s recent past. Head to the Saarland State Art Museum to see both classical and modern works. There are also several theaters, esoteric museums and private galleries around town.
Stop for lunch or dinner in one of the bistros, restaurants or bars around the picturesque St. Johanner Market Square. You’ll taste some sensational local dishes and enjoy the area’s friendly and sophisticated vibe.
Saarbrücken has a special charm. There are museums and galleries to keep history buffs and art lovers busy, elegant old buildings and excellent restaurants, bars and cafes.