This happens more and more in the larger and mid size cities: chain shops take over and expel old-established and good shops. This is also true for Darmstadt city and definitely a reason for me to avoid the town for spontaneous shopping.
Regarding florists – I cannot remember a good flower shop in the city where it is fun to buy a bouquet for any occasion.
BUT: the suburbs often do the trick, also in the case of Darmstadt.
So for any kind of flower arrangement, the best florist is Andreas Goldner’s shop in Arheilgen, a suburb north of the city.
The shop itself is very colourful, the walls are painted in different colours and the flowers and bouquets are a feast for the eye. They have loose flowers and bouquets, several kind of decoration, vases – you name it. Their taste to transform the individual flowers into arrangements is exceptional; just look at the main photo and photo 2. They use flowers, shrubs, bands, objects and any other kind of decoration that fits to a “theme”. They make one-coloured and multicoloured bouquets – whatever the customer likes.
In addition, they have special exhibitions in their small courtyard, depending on the season. Strawberry exhibitions or Christmas exhibitions or special ones for Advent and spring or gardening. Their flowers are fresh; the owner told me that they select only the freshest ones from the market in Frankfurt. And I can confirm this – a bouquet holds for more than one week.
Mon-Fri: 8:30 - 18:30,
Sat: 8:30 - 14:00
Location of Floristik Goldner on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., 2008; update October 2013: wording only.
There might be other tea shops in Darmstadt, but I like this because I find teas I like.
Tee Gschwendner belongs to a franchising chain, but they offer very delicious teas, different varieties in different regions of Germany. As far as I have seen, the tea is available only in loose form (no teabags); this starts from 100 g up to 1000 g. Their variety is immense, from traditional black tea to green tea, chai, herb teas, and aroma teas of all sorts. In addition, they also sell tea accessories like tea pots and cups, storage boxes, candy (the sugar not the sweets) and napkins. Usually there is a seasonal variety of special tea mixtures. What I like with this shop is that they have little boxes with the teas where you can sniff and decide if the aroma is your liking.
My all-time favourite is Roibosh-Lemon, an excellent vitamin stimulant for all season.
The prices are depending on the variety – green tea for example is around 4 € per 100 g, fruit tea slightly less and black tea slightly more. They also have a very interesting measuring device, called "Teela-Maß" (Maß = measure), a kind of plastic spoon (photo 5). Prices as of 2007.
Tee Gschwendner (note: they have an English website too!)
Location of Tee Gschwendner on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., 2007; update October 2013: wording only.
What to pay: Elisabethenstrasse is the street behind (=south of) Luisencentre shopping mall, and then to the right (west).
Some time ago I received a remark about the wedding cup story from a prominent VT member who was about to marry (she is married in the meantime). So I researched and found the lady who is responsible for having made Darmstadt’s Wedding Tower a place for weddings again. She is one of the Friends of Wedding Tower (Förderverein Hochzeitsturm) and they also have decided to give the wedding cups a revival.
The shop is open during the opening hours of the Wedding Tower. Which 10:00 – 18:00, March 1 – October 31.
The cups on display can be bought, directly at the cashier inside the tower. But bring cash, because they don’t have a credit card reader/machine.
The cups are approx. 20 cm in height and available in different material and style.
In my main photo: the ones on the front are made of carved glass and silver and are 165 € each. The ones in the back (orange and red) are also made of glass, but not carved and silver, 110 € each.
Photo 2: plain ones for 114 €.
Photo 3: the ones in the back are 110 €, the ones in the front are 114 €, both slightly more decorated.
Photo 4: heavily decorated and 114 €.
The original shop is in Goslar. See website below.
The last photo (5) is now another souvenir of Darmstadt’s wedding tower: made of chocolate, 10 cm in size and is 9 €.
(Prices are all of 2007; I must go back and check the current situation).
Location of the Wedding Cup Shop on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., 2007; update October 2013: wording only.
Music lovers are in good hands in this shop. If you are looking for any kind of music on CD you could not find in other shops - check out CD Lounge. I was happy to realize that this is not part of a chain, but run by a man who loves music - thus the slogan “Musik ist Leidenschaft” / "music is passion". If the CD you want is not on stock, they will order it.
When I looked for special classic CDs, I found all of them there. Quite a great feeling not to receive a stunned look "What do you want??", the look I often get in chain stores. I also like their website (only in German), where owner Peter Schulz and his staff are introducing themselves and their favourite music.
Update April 2010:
The shop moved locations and changed the name to CD Lounge. But service and selection is the same or even better.
Location of CD Lounge on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.
Several bookstores are located in Darmstadt; a branch of Hugendubel is one of them. However, quality and customer orientation decreased to some extent after Hugendubel took over the former store Buch Habel. They still order books mostly within one day but no effort is taken anymore to organise foreign books, especially English books. This was one thing why I liked the former Buch Habel so much. And sadly not many employees speaks English (which was also a “must” for Buch Habel employees).
Hugendubel has three floors: the upper floor with business books and university & school books, including language books, the ground floor with the typical displays like books on sale, new editions of all and everything, postcards and books on CD. The lower level floor is reserved for novels and other kind of categories such as cooking, gardening, sports, travel literature and a section with kids’ books and calendars.
The other large bookstore, Thalia, is located nearby. And although it is also a chain store and known for rather rough handling of competition, they order English books without any problems. Which is why I shop there in the meantime.
Location of Hugendubel Books on Google Maps
Location of Thalia Books on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., 2005; update October 2013: wording only.
The shop is on the left of the artist's colony museum. You find there books, postcards and other gifts from the Art Nouveau.