The mood : Vienna in April, Austria

We often pick a destination because we’re drawn to fantasy. That’s a recipe for disappointement but it’s easy to be misled into thinking that traveling is about finding what you’re hoping for, when discovering what you haven’t dreamed of is the actual endgame.

With Vienna, I felt I wasn’t taking much risk. Not being a Sissi fanatic there was no particular image of a romantic city engraved in my mind and if I’m being completely honest the last time I had read about the place  was in a design history book, back when it was an outpost of the avant-garde.

Yet I was curious. Surely an old imperial capital at the crossroads of Germany, Switzerland and Italy would have a thing or two to show for. For a French the geographical position also meant getting one step closer to Eastern Europe and Russia. Would that be tangible? My only fear, really, was that the city would be too much of an open-air museum, with pristine, golden-clad buildings lined-up and not much soul.

How nice it is to be proven wrong sometimes.

Vienna is sleek, comfortable and unmistakably modern. It sometimes takes from it neighbors, but to my surprise mostly only looks like itself. It holds a vast amount of architectural beauties, and not only in the pompous style that might come to mind. It’s a remarkable source of inspiration for anything graphic, demonstrating both rigor and elegance at every street corner (a graphic tour will be de rigueur). Good design with a seductive flair is perfectly at home there (maybe a byproduct of mixing German and Italian influences!). In addition to that, the city manages to feel airy and quiet without looking empty and dull. You can walk almost everywhere and when you can’t, there is a beautiful tramway to take you around. There are also a good number of beautiful parks with enough room to make a Parisian go crazy and a collection of gorgeous museums that you may visit….in total peace. Yes, because there are hardly any tourists in Vienna, which does increase its charm immensely.

Let’s keep it that way. Go, but don’t tell anyone!

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