A picnic among celebrities: Only fools would hesitate to take such an offer!
We did not hesitate, so we packed our bags and headed straight to Baden. Their local tourism office had invited us to try out the Kulturpicknick offer, a weekend getaway combining a stay at a hotel and one of several experiences. We chose a romantic picnic at Museum Langmatt, as well as a night at the four star Limmathof Baden.
During many a trip, our train would pass by Baden without a stop. So this was the first time we made Baden a destination. And although only 15 minutes from Zürich, our getaway felt more like a mini vacation! Nothing beats exploring a new town for a weekend...
Museum Langmatt in Baden
Our first stop: Museum Langmatt, a majestic estate which served as the residence of the Brown-Sulzer family back in the day.
The dynasty's beginnings date back to 1896, the year when engineer Sidney William Brown married Jenny Sulzer from an industrial conglomerate in Winterthur. The Brown-Sulzer family belonged to Switzerland's industrial tycoons whose offsprings later co-founded the company today known as ABB.
The husband and wife were avid art collectors with a special liking for French Impressionists. Fortunately for all of us, the property was bequested to the city of Baden in 1987, opening up Villa Langmatt to the public.
Now a museum, this spacious mansion has countless rooms which are carefully decorated with valuable art and antique furniture: Chairs, tables, sideboards and chaises. Plus lots of Asian artifacts such as Chinese porcelain vases.
And did we mention walls upon walls adorned with masterpieces from French Impressionists like Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and, above all, Pierre-Auguste Renoir?
A couple of hours was barely enough to cover the permanent exhibit on the ground floor of Museum Langmatt. For one, the museum felt like someone's home, so there was no rush to making it through.
But more so, neither of us had ever been this up close and personal with fine art! Tell us a museum where one can move as freely as here, approaching a Renoir close enough to make out each stroke on the canvas?
A Picnic Basket Filled with Surprises
Due to the dismal July weather, a picnic on the wide lawn in the park of the residence was out of question. We did not mind the alternative location, however. Our original Kulturpicknick basket was awaiting us in the museum's cafeteria, a quaint tea room adjacent to the art gallery. This had to be the most romantic spot to have a picnic on a rainy day!
Our wicker basket was filled to the rim with local specialties, including traditional Spanisch Brötli, a pastry filled with hazelnut paste.
A cheese plate, pasta salad, sandwiches and fruits were aplenty to satisfy these museum goers.
But what about for the thirst, you ask? A bottle of fine AOC white wine from the canton of Aargau.
Finally, another nice touch was a book of German summer poems: While one of us was munching on the delicacies, the other would read a poem out loud...
While the rain drops were falling outside, we had a romantic picnic among celebrities - French Impressionist celebrities!
Museum Langmatt in Baden is a hidden treasure no more. You must visit this gem of a museum if you care about art at all! Or to invite someone special on a romantic picnic...
(For the purpose of this review, a Kulturpicknick package including one night at the Hotel Limmathof Baden has been generously offered by Baden Tourismus.)