Only 15km from France, bright and busy KARLSRUHE is one of Germany’s youngest cities. Meaning “Karl’s rest”, the town was created in 1715 by Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden as a place to escape his dull wife and spend time with mistresses. It grew as capital of Baden from 1771 and developed as a liberal town where art and science flourished, as did the university that still gives the town a happening feel. After the war it lost out to Stuttgart as regional capital, but as seat of Germany’s two highest courts it still plays a significant national role and is also an important industrial base. Karlsruhe’s premier attractions are its excellent museums – particularly the ZKM with its contemporary art and high-tech installations – and the fact that the city lies within a well-priced regional public transport network, which puts it within easy reach of the Northern Black Forest and Baden-Baden. One unusual event in town to look out for is the Trachten and Folklorefest, when folk groups from all over Europe converge in the June of even-numbered years.