As I said, I am on vacation in France. What is interesting to me is that the region Île-de-France along the Seine is very similar to where I come from, which is Franken in Germany. There also is a big river, called Main, which creates a charming landscape (photo above).
But beside the same scenery there is something different between these two regions, and the difference is handmade and I guess it’s basically because each region belongs to different countries, the Seine-Region to France, Franken to Germany (formerly West-Germany). The obvious difference lies in the architecture of the homes. Almost every home in this region of France is beautiful, some old, some renovated, but always special, with attention to detail (one of hundreds examples I have seen yet in the photo below).
By comparison: Homes in Franken are usually functional (photo below).
Why the difference? Because of cultural differences? Maybe. But guess what, because I am an economist I assume there also is an economic background.
Here comes a thesis: It’s because of the economic revival in Germany starting in the early 1960s when Germay gain economic power after the lost Second World War. The Germans got the money to build and renovate their homes and they did it in the fashion of that period. And the fashion was functional. And what forced it: The Germans wanted to forget the Nazi period, the burden of guilt, the responsibility for a war and the genocide. Old was bad, the future bright. So that was also reflected in architecture. Where the French cultivated their traditions keeping their homes beautiful, the Germans broke up and build something new, unfortunately something ugly.
One could see it in that way: The (in my view) ugly architecture in Unterfranken and in other parts of Germany is a late penalty for what Germany, from 1933 to 1945, has done to the world. A well-deserved punishement!