Kronberg in the Taunus range. There is something enchanted about this town that seems as if someone had transplanted an English county into the rolling foothills of the Taunus mountain range. As it so happens, the impression is far from incidental. In the late nineteenth century, the mother of Germany’s last emperor, Empress Frederick, Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, settled here. She had an English landscape park created and a nostalgic palace in the Tudor style built in the centre of it. Now part of the estate of the family foundation of the House of Hesse, it is one of Germany’s finest palace hotels, offering an outstanding cuisine and ample room for festivities. The surrounding landscape park has since become an 18-hole golf course that seamlessly merges with the parklands of Victoriapark, which circles the town. One of its most stunning aspects is the stock of giant sequoias, cedars and beeches that grew to impressive sizes during the century elapsed since. The park is fringed with mansions in the half-timbered style of Hesse and the English Tudor Revival style. All of it softened up by rhododendron bushes that dominate the gardens, ivy overgrown walls and moss-covered wrought iron gates and tall hedges. Here and there, you hear fountains murmuring. Even in the wintertime.
The mansion district that is grouped around the picturesque town centre is the preferred place of residence for Frankfurt’s high society. A statistical analysis conducted by the GfK consumer research society found that the wealthiest Germans are living not on the island of Sylt or the shore of Lake Starnberg, but in the foothills of the Taunus range. Industrialist families, bankers, entrepreneurs, senior executives and those who like it quiet. Local residents appreciate genteel restraint more than a grand entrance. Most of the well-groomed gardens on large plots set the scene for historic mansion buildings. They are complemented here and there by aspirational new-build structures such as the subject property at Waldhof. Even on a chilly winter morning, Kronberg presents itself quiet and quaint. You will quickly leave the bustling metropolis behind when taking a commuter train past the suburban housing estates, paddocks and fruit tree meadows, reaching the Kronberg railway station after a ride of roughly 20 minutes. Dew drops glisten in the low winter sunlight at Victoriapark, and it is a treat to look back over your shoulder between puffs of cold air breath. Ground fog completely obscures Frankfurt from sight, with only the spires of the skyline peeking out. It makes Kronberg seem like an island rising out of a sea of clouds. The romantic air of the town is enhanced by the pragmatism governing Germany’s financial hub, like an island of the blessed. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, impressionists and romanticists where inspired by the location and formed the Kronberg School of Painting. Today, Kronberg has become the place to be for families, not least because of its superb spectrum of educational and childcare amenities. In the town centre, which almost has the appearance of a hamlet with its many half-timbered houses, you will find storefronts stocking non-discretionary goods, restaurants and cultural venues. On Saturdays, a farmers’ market sets up where regional producers sell their rich variety of seasonal fare.