EAT in Cologne:
What does it for you? Fresh and firm, mature and round, or deep and complex? No, we're not talking about men, but the wine at Le Moissonnier. Yet not only the wine card reads like a who-is-who of the winemakers guild. The food menu tells a similar culinary tale. For example: filet of Breton sole with a brown butter sauce and truffle jus, grilled fennel bulbs with tomato essence, Calamaretti and mange tout with mint. Sound good? To accompany a splendid meal the restaurant even serves up a Jugendstil ambience. Et voilà, c'est formidable!
Osman 30 is decked out in innocent white, but when your bill arrives you may feel a pang of guilt: one set menu weighs in at a lofty EUR 44. But Osman does ensure that your time there is remembered more as an event than a meal. The starters are wheeled to the table in their own hors d'oeuvre trolley. Typical main courses are braised veal cheeks and Ramelsloher poussin. The trolley is then back in action again for the desserts. One big plus of the restaurant is the breathtaking view of Cologne Cathedral, the Lanxess Arena and even of Leverkusen. A little hint before you tuck in: order an extra big serviette to avoid any embarrassing spills on the all white furniture!
Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle: take a bite into your baguette and be catapulted to the Champs-Élysées. Passers-by simply cannot resist peeking through the windows of this bakery, which display the haute couture of French baking and leave the mouth watering. Once inside the tasting commences: the butter croissants melt on the tongue, the éclairs suppress any thoughts of calories and the wonderful tartines embody the dreams of any Francophile. To complement the various delights organic espresso, wine and a good serving of joie de vivre are available.
STAY in Cologne:
Not suitable for basketball players, who will have to fold themselves up at night to fit into one of the 19th century baronial beds. But Antik Hotel Bristol still receives our Golden Nostalgia Ribbon for its furnishings: double rooms featuring Wilhelminian style furniture with walnut root veneer are worth a look. Or perhaps a double room decked out like a Bavarian palace. The theme continues as you exit the hotel: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring was built to resemble the Wiener Ringstraßen and it is still Cologne's most beautiful grand boulevard. When you're out strolling around be sure not to forget to smile and wave! Or you could just go all the way and rent a horse-drawn carriage. Double room from EUR 92 per night.
Globetrotters will feel at home here: the Savoy's rooms are decorated in a range of styles including African, American, Asian and European, offering guests a colourful mix somewhere between bamboo and bonsai, lido and lotus, out of Africa and oriental. In order to see all of the continents you'll have to stay longer, but for short stays the 650m² beauty farm and the wicker beach chairs on the terrace facing Cologne Cathedral will keep a smile on your face. And when you're done with vodka martinis in the James Bond Suite, you can skip across to Divas Bar and take your pick from a vast selection of cigars and wines. Life can be so simple! You barely have to step outside. One night in a double room from EUR 185.
It all began with a bet: artist Martin Kippenberger made a bet with the boss of Chelsea that Germany would make it into the next round at the 1986 World Cup. The prize was a week free of charge at Chelsea. Kippenberger won and was at the entrance of the hotel the very next day with his suitcase in hand. Kippenberger stayed and paid for his room in art - an idea taken up by other artists who also paid their way with paintings. But if you think that you too can get away with a discount by handing over a quick scribble with the room key, then you are mistaken. Hotel Chelsea is almost overflowing with art and therefore can only exhibit just a selection of its collection, which includes work by David Robbins and Joseph Zehrer. Less creative guests will have to pay the EUR 91 for a double room in good old fashioned money.
SHOPPING in Cologne:
If you're looking for that special dress for stepping out onto the red carpet, you can do a lot worse than head to Salon Ludvík. Here tailored art is conceived and created for elegant television stars. Fenja Ludwig's motto is ?Panta rhei' (everything is in flux). Flowing materials, low-cut backs and dove motifs stand at the forefront of the chic label. The couture icon is in touch with her craft, emphasising the female body without restraining it, while bridging the gap with her unmistakeable style between Parisian tradition and modern Cologne.
Blutsgeschwister's trademarks are colourful and flowery. With a range of cardigans, neon belts, zebra costumes and girly accessories Blutsgeschwister defines a trend somewhere between street wear and retro style, without taking its eye off the fun factor. They like to call it individual soul wear and even go as far as to design fun fashion for the smallest of customers - the next generation of trendsetters. The Blutsbaby collection was designed especially for the Bluts matching look. And of course you'll need a worthy home, suitable for life together: the home wear line includes colourful cushions to liven up life behind closed doors.
The Swedes may well be the kings of furniture design, but what you can find in Engelelf's housewares department isn't half bad: take for example the bottle opener in the form of a table-football player, or the red plastic deer antler which double as a coat hook. Engelelf is also imaginative when it comes to fashion: the one-of-a-kind creations of young designers are often very limited in supply and therefore quickly snapped up - meaning occasional customers promptly become regulars. Traditional shoppers looking for consistency will feel out of place here: even the art on the walls changes constantly - one day there are digital prints, the next day there's photography, then paintings a day later. If you don't want to miss something, you'll have to stop by daily!
SIGHTS in Cologne:
Fans of modern art will be impressed: the gallery sells work by Kandinsky, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys, and stylistically lies somewhere between abstract expressionism, constructivism and tusche on cartridge paper. Yet the old masters Picasso and Matisse are also represented, allowing the less educated art lovers to benefit. It begs the question of whether the Picasso really will go over the counter and at what price. If you're less than certain concerning your choice of artwork, you can call upon the in-house experts for advice. Only then can you say for certain that you possess art with a seal of approval!
To clear up any misconceptions: no, the athletes neither run in tutus nor do they dress all in pink. The Gay Games are held under the rainbow flag, but absolutely anyone may take part in the marathon, hurdles and freestyle swimming, irrespective of their sexual preference. Since 1991 Christopher Street Day has developed into Cologne's mega event, with hundreds of thousands expected year for year. Aside from the sporting events there are proud podium discussions and speeches on equality. DJs are on hand to get the crowd swinging at the CSD street festival, and there's a special honour for the best float in the CSD parade. Colour your life!
The cathedral: it is easy to locate as it acts as a navigation point for locating everything else. Standing at 157 metres tall it was for many years the city's tallest building. Today only the telecommunications tower reaches higher into the sky. Nevertheless life in Cologne mostly revolves around the monumental construction - that is of course until the jesters take over. Those who pass through the great entrance as non-believers may well find themselves reconsidering once inside. The giant halls leave visitors feeling so small and insignificant that humbleness will take care of itself. But the cathedral also moves with the times. When Gerhard Richter created the south transept window in 2007, he chose instead of the proposed Bible scene to design a colourful mosaic, which resembles the pixels of a computer screen. Although the original reaction was one of anger, the uproar has since settled down leaving Richter's work to enlighten church goers and art critics alike.