For the third time now in 2020, the city of Baden near Vienna is hosting the “Festival La Gacilly – Baden Photo“, the largest open air photo festival in Europe. This year’s festival bears an exciting promise, calling “All Eyes East” to Baden. Thus, the city of Baden along with its parks and city centre converts into a major open air display for some of the world’s best photographers and exhibitions. The galleries are over seven kilometres long, portraying different aspects of life on planet Earth, the environment, its beauty but also its (man-made) destruction, human stories, as well as travel and geopolitical science issues. You may still visit the open air photo festival #LaGacilly until 26 October, 2020.
There are two major arguments for visiting the festival “La Gacilly-Baden Photo” this year: It is perfectly fit to visit at a social distance, and completely free of charge.
The city of Baden, besides being host to this major photo festival, is also known for its thousands of roses! After a small afternoon shower, their fragrance is even more wonderful to the nose. Right inside the famous rosarium, you can view some of the exhibition’s most prominent photographs, bewitching you with their intensity, beauty or oddity. The entire composition of a classic park landscape mixed with breathtaking, world-renowned photographs from predominantly Eastern and Central Europe is definitely unique, and something that you really should see. Even inside the small city centre of Baden, you can glimpse larger-than-life size photographs being mounted on house walls, a true contrast to the imperial flair of Baden. As I already mentioned, the photo festival is completely free to access. Check this out.
So how does Europe’s largest open air photo festival end up in the city of Baden near Vienna?
“La Gacilly”, as you might already guess, originally hails from France, from a tiny community with the same name and an outstanding mayor: Yves Rocher. 16 years ago, he had the idea of gathering some of the world’s best photographers in La Gacilly, France, in order to advocate the beauty but also the (often man-made) destruction of our planet Earth. Meanwhile, Lois Lammerhuber, who now is the official festival director for the city of Baden, himself a great fan of the French photo festival, convinced his fellow citizens (and politicians) to continue hosting this festival in Baden: Each year after the photo festival has taken place in France, it is then moved to Austria to be shown there during the following year. In 2018, it was called “Africa”, in 2019, “Hymn to the Earth”, and right now, “All Eyes East”. 2021 will focus on “South America”, currently already taking place in La Gacilly. I am already very curious for when it comes to Baden!
Things to do in Baden besides visiting the photo festival: Taste local wines at the Badener Hauervinothek, participate in a Kaiserschmarren show, check out the Arnulf Rainer museum or do a moonlight picnic …
… you name it, Baden has it. At least, this is how we see it. For many, many generations, the city has been able to cultivate a certain atmosphere that revolves around “l’art de vivre“, or joy of life. It has likely started with the Romans building a first settlement here upon discovering the healing thermal mineral waters, waters that are still used for treatment today such as at the “Römertherme” Roman Spa, or the “Thermalstrandbad” open air pools (both are recommended to visit).
Let’s take a jump in history, towards the more recent imperial age and the time of great musicians, such as Beethoven or Strauss. Still today, you may find many of their traces in the city of Baden, and I can truly recommend you visit the Beethoven museum (I have already told you why here). This time round, we visited the no less stunning Arnulf Rainer museum, which offers a unique blend: The former public bath buildings are now home to a modern art museum.
During the last couple of decades, the city of Baden has definitely rejuvenated, and this is likely due to a whole number of festivals and events that engage people from all walks of life. Among them are a cosy moonlight picnic at the Doblhoff park, or a so-called “Kaiserschmarren” show at Herwig Gasser’s coffee shop, complete with its former, original imperial bakery. We love learning all there is to know about the history of the “Kaiserschmarren”, and more so tasting one of Austria’s most famous dishes ourselves. In a cooking demo, you can watch the local master chef preparing a Kaiserschmarren himself.
Check out even more travel photos, festival impressions and ideas for your next visit to the city of Baden here:
Besides, I have already written the following articles about Baden near Vienna and its wider area, helping you to get organised and inspired:
- There’s an annual food festival in Baden, near Vienna, that you simply cannot afford to miss.
- #BadenInWeiss: White Summer Party in the Imperial City of Baden near Vienna
- City Escape: Baden near Vienna beckons your visit
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the city of Baden on this trip to visit #LaGacilly photo festival. All opinions are my own.