4711 House, Cologne
The 4711 house is where the perfume 4711 started, originally a health drink. A carillon plays at regular times. The number 4711 is the house number from when houses did not have street names in the address. Now you can browse or buy in the shop.
The original Eau de Cologne products in the typical blue and green bottles and boxes are available in any department store, drug store, and perfumery. However, if buying them in the location of their origin means something to you, here it is: in Glockengasse, round the corner from the cathedral.
4711 is the old house number from those times when houses were not addressed and numbered streetwise but in one series all over town.
I have not compared prices and cannot tell if this shop is a tourist trap or not - decide for yourselves.
Johann Maria Farina, the inventor of eu de cologne, was Italian. He named his creation"cologne" in honor of his new adopted hometown in Germany. Originally, it was more than a body fragrance. Eau de cologne was also taken internally as a "miracle cure'' for ailments as diverse as migraine headaches, cold feet, even the plague. Its miracle ingredient? A 5 percent alcohol content rendered even more potent when mixed with wine.
Today, the Farina family's eighth generation oversees Farina House, a museum and retail shop in the heart of downtown Cologne. Four blocks away, a showroom occupies the birthplace of 4711 Original Eau de Cologne, a prominent rival since the late 18th century.
Okay, I didn't go in but.... I've known about 4711 from having lived in Spain, years ago. I loved the scent of it and since many Spaniards wore it (at least, back then), the smell of it brings back lots of good memories. So, while researching this last trip I was really excited to learn that Cologne is the home of 4711 and that it's origin of the term "Eau de Cologne".
Naturally, I snapped a couple of photos of the building as we passed it one night (to come) and yes, I did buy a bottle of it for myself!
At the full hour you can see some figures of French soldiers at the top of the 4711 house. Chimes are being played and the figures move in a circle.This is at the roof of the house, above the store where you can buy all sorts of Eau de Cologne.
Inside the store there is fountain, giving Eau de Cologne instead of water. This gives the store a very pleasant smell.
Now, November 2006, they're having a sale, many items have been reduced for Christmas. I was surprised how cheap many items were. Usually, a touristy place marks things up, not down , before Christmas. Quite a lot of customers were in the shop, buying gifts.
"Echt Kölnerwasser", as it says in the ads on the Central station, is of course known all over the world today. In the 4711 House, you can visit the company itself and wash your hands in the fountain full of eau de Cologne (see second picture) as well as read up on its history in the second floor gallery, and of course buy everything from the real stuff to t-shirts on it in its gift shop. Every hour between 9 and 19, on the hour, a carillon also plays from the top of the building. Usually the French national anthem and something more (which you can also hear on their website below), and this is because it was the Napoleonic troops which numbered the Cologne quarters in 1796, hence giving this house its famous number. The perfume itself is said to have been a wedding gift a few years earlier from a Carthusian monk to the Muehlen family in the palace. It was then known as "aqua mirabilis" (and also drunk) and it was Mr Muehlen's son who set up a company for business production, a business which almost a century later was registered under the famous house number.
The real eau de Cologne is known under number 4711. Napoleon ordered his troups to give all the houses a number, so 4711 is nothing more than an address. Today the real kolnisch wasser is still very famous.
#4711 started making cologne in the late 1700's and made it 80 proof. you were meant to both drink it and wear it. Nowadays, you just wear it.
A fountain in the lobby continuously pours free samples of cologne to try.
The staff are helpful and friendly and there is a free display on the 2nd floor giving a history of the store.
If you've ever heard about Eau de Cologne, here is its' origin. The most famous brand got its name when one of Napoleon's soldier was ordered to count every house (this was number 4711) during Napoleon's occupation of Cologne.
So if you need a gift for your mother get a small bottle of this refreshing perfume which is sold in the shop (as are other brands).
Enjoy the Glockenspiel (above the shop) with characters of Napoleon´s soldiers appearing hourly.
The 4711 house is located in central Cologne on a street called Glockengasse.
Eau De Cologne originated here, and eventually became the home of the famous perfume called 4711! The brand got its name from the house, Napoleon ordered his soldiers to count the houses and this was number 4711. Later on the perfume was aptly named after the house.
Inside the house they have a barrel with 4711 running out of it! So put you hand under the tap and get your free splash of the original Eau De Cologne!!
When I was young I remember my grandmother having a bottle of 4711 cologne.
I could smell the sweet fragrance I remembered as a child wafting down the street before I saw the shop, so I knew we were at the right place.
It’s a shame there is no factory or major exhibition to mark a product, which was the first to hold the title of Eau de Cologne, but I was glad I visited the shop
Inside the door is a little water feature with running 4711 cologne. Several elderly ladies dipped their handkerchiefs in the water and dabbed their faces as they entered the shop. My father tells me there is still nothing finer to cool the skin than a handkerchief soaked in 4711.
There is a small exhibition above the shop giving the history of this famous product which, dates back to the 1700’s. I found this fascinating and was pleased that it was written in English.
I’m not going to tell you what it said, go and take a look for yourself.
While your there have a look at the large tapestry that hangs on the wall. It must have taken years to produce.
You will only be there a few minutes, but to me the 4711 house was a must see activity during my trip.
Address: Obenmarspforten 21 - Cologne.
Step inside and lokk around, just a shop ? ... no sorry, wrong, total wrong !!!
This is the house where Mr. Johann Maria Farina, an italian guy moved to Germany beginning 1700, created and developed the real and only worldwide famous Eau de Cologne, a parfum worthy of king's and queen's skin.
Ok, stop advertising now :-) ... in this shop there's a small museum ... but the most important story is that a guy there is telling you all what you need to know about history of this parfum; and the passion he puts in this short visit cannot do anythin else than simply fascinating you ... try it !!!!!
You can't miss House #4711. This is where you can find the original cologne. It's called House #4711 because during the time of Napoleon he had every building numbered. These numbers can still be found on some of the buildings.
It's now basically just a store that sells cologne, but it makes for great gifts because there are many different price ranges depending on what size bottle you want, and they call come gift wrapped. They also have a brief history of their cologne & House #4711 in a small upstairs area.
My friend and I were the only customers there when we first showed up, but then a bus load of Spanish tourists showed up & all hell broke loose. They were running wild in that place. There is a fountain there that has cologne pouring out of it instead of water. They say that when cologne was originally invented people thought it was a remedy for some illnesses & they drank it for good health. I guess these Spanish tourists thought it would be a good idea to try that out because I saw some of them drinking it. It doesn't seem like such a good idea to do this anymore. I mean, it's definitely cologne. It has a strong odor & who wants to put cologne in their mouth, anyway?
Eau de Cologne isn't called Eau de Cologne for nothing. It originated in Cologne in the 19th century. The original was called 4711 - named after the number of the house it was made in (Glockengasse 4711). You can see the house opposite the opera and if you are lucky like me you can hear the chimes play the hourly tune. Just promise me one thing: Don't by 4711 - Echt Kölnisch Wasser. It smells horrible!
If you have a chance, visit House 4711. It's in this house that the famous Cologne Water was invented! There is a little museum-like display that recalls the history of this said miraculous water. Very interesting! You also get to smell it and buy some if you want (quite cheap, I was surprised).