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The Baden-Baden Spa Experience
The history of "taking the waters" in Baden-Baden dates back to AD 75, when the Roman army established the city of Aquæ Aureliæ. The legions under Emporer Caracalla soon discovered that the regions' salty underground hot springs were just the thing for aching joints.
Römische Badruinen. The remains of the Roman settlement can be seen at the Römische Badruinen. Römerstr. 11, D–76530, Baden-Baden. €2. Mar.–Nov., daily 11–1 and 2–5.
The remains of the Roman bathhouse are explained with a computer animation that virtually reconstructs the entire area.
In a modern sense, bathing became popular within the upper-class elite when Friedrich I banned gambling in 1872. Everyone from Queen Victoria to Karl Marx dangled their feet in the pool and sang the curative praises of the salty warm water bubbling from the ground.
Friedrichsbad. In a city with many spa options, the Friedrichsbad, also known as the Roman-Irish Baths, is the most noble and elegant choice. If you choose to take the waters, the Friedrichbad's ornate copper and terra-cotta temple is the best place to do it, though keep in mind that you'll have to bathe in the buff, as swimsuits aren't allowed. The spa treatment offers everything from a soap and brush massage to thermal steam baths. Spend at least a half hour in the relaxation area afterward to ease the transition back into the real world. Note children under 14 are not allowed. Römerpl. 1, Baden-Baden, D–76530. 07221/275–920. www.carasana.de. €55 for 4 hrs all-inclusive, €23 with no massage. Daily 9 am–10 pm. Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sun. mixed bathing. Mon., Thurs., and Sat. gender-separate bathing.
Caracalla Therme. If you are a bit modest and prefer to wear a swimsuit in the water, walk across the square to the more modern Caracalla Therme, named in honor of the Roman emperor who brought bathing to Baden-Baden. The indoor-outdoor pool area has three separate baths, with temperatures between 18°C and 38°C (64°F–100°F). Supplement the soaking experience with whirlpools, Jacuzzis, and waterfalls. Children under 7 are not allowed in the spa and children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Römerpl. 1, Baden-Baden, D–76530. 07221/275–940. www.carasana.de. €18 for 3 hrs. Daily 8 am–10 pm.
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