One of HomeExchange’s Star Members Shares His Experience

With my wife Mylène and our two-year-old Arthur, we spent a week in Dusseldorf on a GuestPoints exchange with Britta. At the same time, we hosted a family from the Jura at our home near Rouen, also in exchange for GuestPoints. The idea of travelling to this unknown region of Germany came to me last summer, on the way back from our exchange in Denmark. While travelling in the direction of Dusseldorf, I realized the city was barely five hours from our own home in Normandy.

We visited every corner of this great German city. Dusseldorf sustained a fair amount of damage during the Second World War, but bounced back with vitality in the years since, to become the German fashion capital. We visited Kö (Königsallee), the German Champs-Elysées, lined with luxury boutiques and commercial centres. The old town, sculpted in the Belgian Flemish style, was highly animated, with numerous taverns packed into a small radius. We also spent a lot of time in playgrounds with other young parents, but our top two favourites from Dusseldorf were the following:

The Left Bank of the Rhine
The Rhine, with its two very different banks: the right bank, animated and lined with beautiful buildings, and the left bank with its floodplains and improbable sheep overlooking the skyscrapers of big German companies.

Dusseldorf’s Telecommunications Tower with a View
The Média Hafen neighbourhood: the old port renovated by great architects the likes of Frank Gehry (the creator of three highly original buildings) and home of the Rheinturm, a 200m tall telecommunications tower which you can climb for a view over the rooftops.

Rococo Benrath Castle
In addition to the city, we visited its surroundings, the Rococo Benrath Castle and Kaiserwerth, a town on the edge of the Rhine. Our two farthest destinations (30-45min. drive) were Cologne, the economic centre of the region, with its gothic cathedral, classed a UNESCO heritage site and the Zollverein mining museum (also a world heritage site) in Essen, in the Rhur, the urban-industrial complex of more than five million habitants and the symbol of industry at the beginning of the 20th century.

Kaiserwerth, on the Edge of the Rhine River
Lastly, because an exchange is always better when you meet the people you stay with, we were able to organize a quick meeting with our host Britta, a charming woman who speaks admirable French! She arrived home shortly before our departure, just in time for a photo in her magnificent living room full of books.

Until next time for new adventures, thanks to HomeExchange!

-Etienne, April 2016

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