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Ingredients for a cultural weekend in Basel

Basel Barfuesserplatz

I would consider myself a nature person, but my eyes and soul at times want to try different food.

So thanks to Basel Tourism and Fondation Beyeler, I was able to invite my significant other on a cultural trip to the more cosmopolitan parts of Basel.


The Nomad Design & Lifestyle Hotel in the heart of Basel

Our weekend home is every yuppie’s and urbanite's dream: The Nomad Design & Lifestyle Hotel. City and nature are brought together in the hotel's simple and modern interior. The Nordic vibe inspires us to take the camera out for a spin...

NOMAD Design Hotel Basel
NOMAD Design Hotel Basel
NOMAD Design Hotel Basel

Jean Dubuffet at Fondation Beyeler

The hotel's location near the train station makes it very easy to get around. We hop on tram #2 to Badischer Bahnhof, from where we switch to tram #6. Our first stop: Fondation Beyeler.

Art critics near or in Basel basically live in this centre, and the reason is clear: The museum is like a rock stage of the art world, featuring such stars like Warhol, Picasso and Giacometti which you may know from the 100 franc bank note.

Fondation Beyeler - Alberto Giacometti


Art as raw as sushi

Another star is the Art Brut (self-taught) artist Jean Dubuffet. His temporary exhibition "Metamorphoses of Landscape" shows his rough, simple works, often made of natural materials.

Fondation Beyeler - Jean Dubuffet

I pretty much agree on what a poet said at a humorous poetry slam after the exhibition: Dubuffet's art is like raw sushi.

Fondation Beyeler - Jean Dubuffet, Sushi

One can get used to having some sushi now and then, right?

Fondation Beyeler - Jean Dubuffet

Wait, did it just move?!

At the Coucou Bazar, Jean Dubuffet’s art changes its form. Two different dimensions, paintings and sculptures, come together in one room. While I am taking pictures, one of the sculptures approaches me...

This is something you do not see every day.

COUCOU BAZAR! seinem spektakulären Bühnenstück Coucou Bazar hat Dubuffet Malerei, Skulptur, Theater, Tanz und Musik zu einem einzigartigen Gesamtkunstwerk vereint. Dieses »animierte Gemälde« bildet nicht nur den Höhepunkt des L’Hourloupe-Zyklus, sondern von Dubuffets Schaffen überhaupt. Während des Spektakels interagierten ursprünglich die zahlreichen kostümierten Figuren unablässig miteinander ebenso wie mit den Bühnenelementen, sodass sich die gesamte Darbietung zu einer wandlungsfähigen Figurenlandschaft formierte. In der Fondation Beyeler sind rund 60 dieser Bühnenelemente und Kostüme ausgestellt – nur selten wurde Coucou Bazar in dieser Umfänglichkeit öffentlich präsentiert. Insgesamt wurde das grosse Bühnenspektakel nur dreimal produziert: 1973 in New York und Paris sowie 1978 in Turin. Diese letzte Inszenierung wurde in jenem Film festgehalten, der auch in der Ausstellung zu sehen ist. Aus konservatorischen Gründen kann Coucou Bazar heute nicht mehr als Ganzes aufgeführt werden. Die einzigen beiden Kostümfiguren, die nach wie vor animiert werden dürfen, werden im Rahmen der Ausstellung zweimal pro Woche, mittwochs und sonntags, von professionellen Performern zum Leben erweckt.LIVE-TANZPERFORMANCE COUCOU BAZARMittwoch, 3. Februar 2016 bis Sonntag, 8. Mai 2016Jeden Mittwoch, 15.00 Uhr und 17.00 UhrJeden Sonntag, 14.00 Uhr und 16.00 UhrVeranstaltung im Museumseintritt inbegriffen.#CoucouBazar #JeanDubuffet #DubuffetMetamorphoses

Posted by Fondation Beyeler on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

There have been only three stage shows where you can see even more sculptures performing together: In 1973 in New York and Paris, and in 1978 in Turin. For conservation reasons, only two of the original sculptures can be seen in action here in Basel.

The "walking art" sure grabs the audience's attention.

Fondation Beyeler - Jean Dubuffet
Fondation Beyeler - Jean Dubuffet

After the exhibition, it is time for an apéro at the elegant Berower Park Restaurant, which is set in an 18th century villa at the Fondation Beyeler.

And before calling it a night, we stumble into the cobblestone streets of nightly Basel. Our favorite nighttime spot? The promenade along the Rhine river, which creates a special atmosphere thanks to the golden light reflections on the water.

Basel - Rhine at Night

Basel's history museum is inside a church

The Barfüsserkirche (Church of the Barefoot Friars) serves for an unusual purpose. It was turned into the Basel History Museum, hiding many interesting facts about local history and culture. For instance, did you know that most of the fountains in the streets of Basel are not actually originals? You can see some of the real ones inside the museum.

Historisches Museum Basel

The Silver & Gold exhibition will surely blind you (open through April 3, 2016). For centuries, Basel used to be a major goldsmithing centre. Basel Historical Museum’s Silver&Gold collection showcases the glitz and glory that the local craftsmen used to produce.

Take this golden ship: It looks tiny, but you can actually put a bottle of wine in it and then pour the drink from it!

Historisches Museum Basel

Making our chocolate fantasies come true at Beschle

No more speaking of figurative eating. At Beschle, they have been making high quality chocolate for more than a century. We are here to discover their chocolate making secrets and try to make some of our own.

Beschle Chocolate Workshop

You can choose between white, milk and dark chocolate base, and after the 1.5 to 2 hour long workshop, you get to keep three chocolate bars - and some pralines.

Beschle Chocolate Workshop

For all the sweet couples, we recommend to choose chocolate making at Beschle as a date. Otherwise, a self-made chocolate makes a great present at any time.

Beschle Chocolate Workshop

My milk chocolate with walnuts, caramel and cardamom turned out to be delicious. Next time, we will try their own Green Matcha or Indian Lassi chocolate...


Our verdict

Basel, justly regarded as the capital of art and culture in Switzerland, is a great destination for art and culture lovers.

But it is not just that: The whole experience turned out to be a great city package. We not only got some cultural food for the soul, but also our dose of cityness and delight for our taste buds.

Markthalle Basel

Follow our recipe for a cultural weekend in Basel, or try to improvise with the ingredients. Each of them gives a special flavor to your visit.

If you are a true virtuoso, get the BaselCard (from 20 francs) which provides a 50% discount on 19 museums in Basel, as well as reduced price on theatre tickets, restaurants, transport and others.

You can visit some museums for free on the first Sunday of the month. For instance, the National History Museum.

NOMAD Design Hotel Basel


Kristīne is a Tourism Organisation and Management graduate from Latvia, currently living in Bern.

She is into travelling, photography, handicrafts and online marketing. She doesn't spend the weekends home, and she will never say "no" to an invitation to go hiking in the mountains.


  • This would indeed make a great recipe for a fabulous cultural weekend! Loved the DuBuffet exhibition too:)


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