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Berlin

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Creative, heterogeneous, lively, Berlin is a city in constant change. On the one hand, the euphoria of an active market economy, on the other hand, alternative communities. As the capital of a reunited Germany, the city gives an unfinished impression with its immense architectural diversity and disorganized urban planning that contrasts with other German cities such as Hamburg, Cologne or Munich. It is a modern and multicultural metropolis, which is resolutely turned towards the future; this does not prevent it from ardently preserving its history. From the Museum Island, which contains some of the most impressive treasures of antiquity, to the Baroque palaces of Charlottenburg and Sanssouci, to the Brandenburg Gate and 20th century memorial sites, you will see all the beauty, extravagance and cruelty of the past. A heavy past, marked by two world conflicts, the horror of the camps, the partition of the city, and a slow and laborious reunification. Berlin can also be visited through its cafés, monuments, shopping streets and nightlife. Don't forget, Berlin is lived by day, thanks to its prodigious cultural and historical heritage, but also by night, in its bars that never close, its improbable clubs and its crazy cabarets. To help you discover the city in all its aspects, the non-exhaustive list of establishments selected in this tourist guide includes places that cannot be ignored and many that are only known to "insiders". It is then up to you to make your stay a Berlin experience...

What to see, what to do Berlin?

When to go Berlin ?

Summer is the most pleasant time to visit Berlin, which then takes on a completely different face. Enjoying the high temperatures of a continental climate, parks, lakes and café terraces are stormed and good humour reappears with the return of the sun. Swimming pools (Freibad) and open-air cinemas (Freiluftkino) open their doors and everyone gathers in the Strandbars (outdoor bars, equipped with sand) and Biergarten. Winter can be very harsh in Berlin, but when the wind from Siberia rushes down the main avenues, it is also the time of the magical Christmas markets and the toboggan runs at the Teufelsberg. Be aware that during trade fairs, congresses and other festivals, hotels are quickly full, so remember to book early for such events.

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Suggested addresses Berlin

Travel Berlin

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Covid-19 : current situation Berlin

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Berlin. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Practical information for travel Berlin

How to go Berlin

How to go alone

It is very easy to travel alone to Berlin. There is plenty of public transport and hotels, so you can make your choice. To avoid wasting too much time queuing in front of each monument, remember to buy your tickets in advance on the Internet or on site the day before. Queue-cutting tickets also save time for a few extra euros.

How to go on a tour

Many tour operators offer holiday packages. The most frequent ones are escapades (3 days and 2 nights or 4 days and 3 nights) and long weekends. Prices vary according to the means of transport chosen and the time of booking; last minute offers remain the most attractive. In Berlin, since it is a suitable place, there are quite a few cultural trips, but the prices are higher.

How to get around

It would be pointless and expensive to carry a car inside Berlin. All tourist attractions, even the most remote, are accessible by bus or metro. Offers are available for a few days or by the week. Outside Berlin, the main attractions in the surrounding area are either accessible by public transport, such as Potsdam, for example.

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Discover Berlin

Berlin is an astonishing city where one never ceases to be surprised by the vagaries of its turbulent history, and to discover it is to confront its tortured past. Until the end of the 20th century, the city was at the heart of the conflicts and tensions of the Cold War. Today it fascinates because it is the story of a rebirth, of an unexpected comeback. The architecture of the reconstruction after the fall of the Wall fascinates by its creativity. Many major architectural firms were involved in the reconstruction of a city whose urban fabric is still pierced by gaping wounds. But Berlin is taking on its scars. The city also holds a privileged place on the international art scene: its theatres, operas and museums, which have a long tradition, are world-renowned. And the independent art scene, the Freie Szene, is essentially forward-looking.

Pictures and images Berlin

Kulturbrauerei, site culturel majeur de la ville Author's Image
Vue sur Berlin depuis la colonne de Siegessaüle Stéphan SZEREMETA
Neue Synagogue sur Oranienburger Straße Author's Image
Coupole du Reichstag Author's Image

The 12 keywords Berlin

1. #Ampelmännchen

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The little pedestrian man at the traffic lights has become an emblem of Berlin. First introduced in East Berlin, it was later used throughout the GDR. After the fall of the Wall, the city wanted to replace it with the classic pedestrian traffic lights of the West, but it was fiercely defended. Today it is even found in West Berlin.

2. #BER

Known under the BER code, the new Berlin airport should have opened in 2012. By dint of repeated scandals, its opening is constantly being postponed, making it the object of ridicule preferred by Berliners. Eight years after the initially planned inauguration, its opening has not been prevented by the paralysis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

3. #Döner

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Legend has it that the doner kebab was invented in Berlin by a Turkish immigrant, Mehmed Aygün, in order to seduce German customers who were used to eating on the go. Quite different from its French counterpart, the Berlin kebab is always filled with red cabbage. Very cheap and hearty, its success is not denied among the night owls.

4. #FKK

TheFreie KörperKultur (free body culture) is well established in our neighbors across the Rhine. It is not uncommon in some parks or on the beaches to see Germans in the simplest aircraft. Don't be surprised if you go to the sauna in Berlin, where wearing a bathing suit is very often prohibited. "Stop wearing textiles! "so...

5. #Kiez

Berlin is a monster city with an area seven times the size of Paris. There are 12 gigantic districts (Bezirke), themselves subdivided into neighborhoods (Stadtteile). Berliners identify an additional subcategory: the Kiez, a few blocks, a supermarket, bars and shops; their little neighborhood life.

6. #Bears

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According to a popular misconception, Berlin got its name from the bear(Bär). It seems that this symbol is due to the Margrave of Brandenburg, Albert I, known as "The Bear". Since 1280, the bear has been the heraldic animal of the city. You will find it everywhere: on the flag, as a statue, as a stuffed animal in souvenir stores, etc.

7. #Späti

Inseparable from Berlin life, Späti, short for Spätkauf, allows you to find beer, alcohol, chips, chocolate and other food items just down the road from your home at any time of the day and especially at night. Some Späti even have their own terrace where you can enjoy a beer on summer evenings.

8. #Reunification

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The symbolic act of Reunification was undoubtedly the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. Then it was a long process of reweaving between the two parts of the city. For example, the entire transport network had to be rethought. As the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin has regained its place among the world's major cities.

9. #Schnauze

Literally, the "Schnauze" refers to the mouth of an animal. But when the Germans speak of the "Berliner Schnauze", they are referring to the outspokenness of the inhabitants of the capital. It is a disparaging and rather contemptuous way of characterizing Berliners, who are often described as being a little lout and nonchalant

10. #Szene

The Berlin scene, known as Szene, is a notion that covers a way of life, fashions and trends, outings, political currents... The Berlin Szene, which is fundamentally alternative, also covers the various party venues, from the most incongruous clubs to the most posh... The Szene is Berlin on the move.

11. #Wegbier

Beer is a favourite drink in Berlin - as it is throughout Germany. Wegbier" refers to the bottle of beer that is drunk on the way, in transport or on the street, often on the way to nightclubs. So don't be surprised to see Berliners drinking like this in the underground. Other countries, other customs

12. #WG

Shared housing - or WG for Wohngemeinschaft - is very developed in Berlin. While it used to be easy to find a flat share in Berlin, the city's success has led to an influx of newcomers, making the search more complicated and competitive. To get into a WG, you have to be prepared to pass a real casting!

You are from here, if...

You wait at the red light. Berliners are probably less disciplined than Munichers but more so than Parisians. It is better to wait for the green light to cross the road and avoid standing in the bike lane.

You pay in cash. Most stores and department stores allow you to pay by card, but restaurants, cafés, bars, Spätis, etc. do not, and most of them display "Cash only".

You leave a tip (Trinkgeld). It is customary to round up the bill and tell the waiter when you are ready to pay how much you will pay him, including the tip. This way, you will get the change accordingly.

You understand the Berlin humor. In the rest of Germany, Berliners are known to be a bit rough around the edges. The harsh frankness of the capital's inhabitants is often a mark of humor

You hug each other goodbye.

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