This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Cafe Gerbeaud is a traditional European coffee house situated in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Since it’s opening in 1858, it has exhibited its Grunderzeit style with a stucco ceiling, grand chandeliers and exotic wood paneling.
Henrik Kugler, the third child of a confectionery dynasty, established Cafe Gerbeaud. He opened a confectionery at Jozsef Nador Square, which was soon praised as one of the best in ‘Pest.
Kugler moved the store to Vorosmarty tor in 1870 to be closer to the city center. His Kugler Pies and Mignons became well-known, as for the first time it was possible to take them home wrapped on a paper tray. Kugler’s confections were enjoyed by countless Hungarians over the years, including the Queen of Hungary herself.
While travelling in Paris in 1882, Kugler first met Emil Gerbeaud, another descendant from a confectionery family. Two years later, Kugler invited him to join him in Budapest, where Gerbeaud would gradually take over Kugler’s shop. The cafe retained the original name, and continued to expand under new management.
For the interior design of his confectionery, Gerbeaud took advice from Henrik Darilek. The ceiling’s stucco was created in the Rococo style of Louis XIV of France, and the chandeliers inspired by Maria Theresa of Austria. The guests were seated at French tables, which Gerbeaud had delivered from the world fair in Paris.
Gerbeaud died in November 1919, and bequeathed the store to his wife, Ester, who ran it until 1940. The shop was nationalized in 1948 and renamed “Vorosmarty”, after the poet Mihaly Vorosmarty. The shop kept this unsolicited name until March 1984, when it reclaimed its historical name.
In 1995, German businessman Erwin Franz Muller bought Gerbeaud and had it renovated extensively. The wear and tear of the last 50 years have thus disappeared, and today the cafe shines in the original style by Emil Gerbeaud.
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