Munich, in alternative mode

Berlin underground, broke and creative compared to traditional, prosperous and bourgeois Munich? On the surface, everything seems to oppose the two most visited cities in Germany. Yet the beautiful Bavarian woman, behind her folkloric accents, her famous Oktoberfest and her flourishing economy, hides lesser-known and equally interesting facets. Those of an arty, trendy and ecological city, which has many surprises in store for the curious looking for alternative places and looking for Berlin airs in the capital of Bavaria.

Munich arty

The latest in Munich museums shows how much the Bavarian city has evolved. Rich in an extraordinary cultural heritage, between its three art galleriesHis antiquity museum And the one of ancient egypt or his Residenz (Castle in the center of Munich), seat of the Wittelsbach dynasty, it therefore welcomes a newcomer, the Muca.

The museum of urban and contemporary art, the first of its kind in Germany, opened at the end of 2016, replacing an electricity redistribution station. Hidden behind a fence, in a tiny street in the city center, the roughly stripped building presents temporary exhibitions dedicated to street art, with big names like Shepard Fairey, JR, Banksy, Invader, etc.

Graffiti artists have also invested " Pathos Kreativquartier », West of trendy Schwabing and just south of Olympiapark. A former industrial site that has become an interdisciplinary artistic platform, reminiscent of the Berlin alternative spirit. The hangars, warehouses and production buildings have been converted into theaters, workshops, studios, rehearsal and performance rooms, bar and beer garden, regularly scheduling performances, concerts, exhibitions and clubbing nights.

Even well-established institutions play the underground card, literally! Since the Lenbachhaus, a collection around modern art in general and the Cavalier Bleu movement (Blaue Reiter) in particular, has an annex… in the metro! More precisely an exhibition space called Kunstbau, in the neighboring station of Königsplatz.

By regaining the surface by the stairs which also go up from the platforms of the U-Bahn, it is impossible not to come to a stop in front of the extension of the Lenbachhaus inaugurated in 2013: a golden cube with a minimalist design, designed by Norman Foster and installed next to the original building, which was built at the end of the XNUMXth century on the model of the Italian Renaissance villas.

The striped facade of the new wing appears to match that of the Brandhorst museum, in the same district: it is also striped but of different colors. An original contemporary architecture that suggests the nature of the works it houses: paintings by Andy Warhol, creations by Polke and Damien Hirst, or the giant roses painted by Cy Twombly, beautifully highlighted by the lighting and the white volumes of the vast rooms.

Trendy Munich

Munich people are very proud of their traditions. It's not only during Oktoberfest (mid-September to early October), but on many occasions that they wear the leather breeches (Lederhose) or Bavarian dresses with neckline and apron (Dirndl). They love to shop at Viktualienmarkt, the main market with appetizing stalls filled with local products and in the center planted with a May tree, a carved pole typical of the region.

However, they are also fond of shopping and trendy outings in several well-distributed areas of the city. As Schwabing, which was already bohemian in the 1900s. At the time, Paul Klee, Kandinsky or the poet Rainer Maria Rilke lived there. It is still frequented by students of the university and the Academy of Arts and rife with cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs.

Just to the south, it experiences a more recent extension in Maxvorstadt. Many hyped addresses in this sector also have branches in Glockenbach, on the other side of the heart of Munich: like the Marais in Paris, this gay district has gone from the militant avant-garde to the bobo trend. While keeping its original and creative touch, with its pretty shops, especially around Gärtnerplatz and on Reichenbachstrasse.

For example Delikatessen, a designer flea market that sells leather goods made from the patinated leather of recycled gym equipment, such as the pommel horse. Or Phasenreich, a concept store that is both a café and an urban, green and fair-trade ready-to-wear boutique.

Green Munich

Munich has a green vibe, and not just in fashion or by fashion! Certainly, the city hosts a temple of the automobile, the BMW museum, famous Bavarian firm. But in the city center, there are pedestrians, cyclists and public transport organized in a very dense network.

Right next to the BMW Museum, unfolds the Olympiapark, a huge park designed for the Olympic Games in 1972. Since then, it has delighted walkers and sportspeople, with its hilly terrain or its stretch of water adjoining the stadium which literally seems to rise from the ground.

Another vast emblematic green space of the capital of Bavaria, the English Garden or English garden which covers nearly 4 km²! Much flatter, it is also adorned with large lawns, paths to be covered on foot, by bike or on horseback and a large lake where to navigate aboard pedal boats, small boats and small electric boats.

A site a little too quiet, however, for surfers, who meet on theEisbach. In the middle of this small artificial river, near the museum House of Art, cool babes, in the 1970s, had discovered an eddy conducive to sliding. A wave difficult to tame that the most seasoned, equipped with a wetsuit, defy by waiting each in turn, rain, wind or snow ... They join this very unique spot of its kind with their board under their arm, by bus, metro or bicycle. Rather incongruous in a city which has nothing of the seaside!

Another astonishing image held by the Englischer Garten, one of the largest beer gardens of Munich, which is spread out at the foot of a Chinese tower. The pagoda-style roofs provide a bit of shade for groups of revelers and families on fun to drink from liter mugs, accompanied by maxi-pretzels.

For picnics, sunbathing and swimming, lazy people can also settle on the banks of theIsar, which crosses the Bavarian capital and offers it, in the absence of a nearby sea, a taste of the beach.


Find all the practical information, tips and addresses in the Routard Germany in bookstores.

Consult our Munich online guide

Website of the German tourist office

Munich tourist office website

Read also our report Munich, in motion

How to get there ?

- By plane: direct flights with Lufthansa between Munich and Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris or Toulouse, from Paris CDG with Air France and from Bordeaux and Nantes with Volotea

Find your plane ticket to Munich.

- By train : journeys between Paris or Strasbourg and Munich, direct or with a change, in around 5h30. TGV and ICE links provided by SNCF and Deutsche Bahn.

Where to sleep ?

- H'Otello H´09 : Hohenzollernstrasse, 9. Tel. : +49 89 45 83 12 00. Double room: from 97 €. In Schwabing, one of Munich's bustling neighborhoods, the small chain H'Otello has two minimalist but functional establishments, where white dominates but which remain cozy: H´09, on Hohenzollernstrasse, and F´22, on Fallmerayerstrasse, a a little less expensive but a little more austere and out of the way. A third address, B´01, is in Glockenbach (on Baaderstrasse).

- The Flushing Meadows Hotel: Fraunhoferstraße, 32. Tel. : +49 89 55 27 91 70. Double room: from 185 €. Hidden behind an opaque iron door, not suggesting the presence of a hotel, it is the ideal spot to stay in the heart of the very trendy district of Glockenbach. Or just to have a drink in the small bar with mini terrace, on the top floor… Because the sixteen rooms with a refined design, some decorated in collaboration with artists and local figures, are not within the reach of all budgets!

Where to eat ?

- Ella im Lenbachhaus: Luisenstraße, 33. Tel. : +49 89 70 08 81 77. Every day, except Monday, from 9 am to 1 am (Sunday and public holidays until 21 pm only). About 30 € à la carte. The Lenbachhaus museum café-restaurant is housed in the contemporary extension designed by Norman Foster, with large bay windows overlooking Königsplatz. The careful cuisine is strongly inspired by Italy: beef carpaccio, risotto, scamorza ravioli with asparagus and pancetta chips, a thousand zucchini and shrimp leaves or, for dessert, tiramisu and profiteroles.

- Man Versus Machine: Müllerstraße, 23. Monday to Friday 8 am to 18 pm, Saturday 9 am to 19 pm, closed Sundays and public holidays. In Munich, it's not just beer and sausages! For good coffee and delicious pastries, head to this trendy coffee shop in the Glockenbach district. Another “Man Versus Machine” address is located in an equally trendy area, that of Maxvorstadt (Adalbertstraße, 10).

- Super Danke: Türkenstraße, 66. Tel. : +49 89 18 90 42 46. Monday to Friday 8 am to 18 pm, Saturday 10 am to 18 pm, Sunday 10 am to 17 pm. In Maxvorstadt, near the huge Englischer Garten, this organic juice bar serves smoothies with original recipes, energizing virtues and funny names. Hulk mix of avocado, banana, spinach and rice milk; Hangover Cure is a blend of mango, grape, avocado, banana, coconut water and kale. Ideal for recovering excess Oktoberfest!


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