Mulhouse in Two Days

Photo by frans16611

Old trains, pricey cars, gorgeous textiles, and a covered market

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When in Alsace, France, spend at least two days in Mulhouse, a metropolis the French government officially brands a City of Art and History (Ville d’Art et d’Histoire). The most interesting tourist sites are connected by a modern bus and tram system, and a small fee buys you a day-long pass.

While the city has the most pleasant sightseeing weather from May through September, you may want to plan your visit for late November when the Christmas Market takes over the central square. All the adjoining streets are decorated with lavish fabrics to emphasize the town’s vital textile industry, and about 100 vendors set up booths in Place de la Réunion, dominated by the magnificent Saint-Etienne Church.

Must-see Mulhouse

Historic French trains are the stars of The Train MuseumCité du Train), the largest railway museum in the world. This modern 6,000 sq.m/ 64,583 sq.ft edifice took the place of the older Musée Francais du Chemin de Fer (Railroad Museum). Themed exhibits transport you from 1840’s steam engines to today’s super sleek high-speed TGV.

The National Car Museum (Cité de l’Automobile) is well worth a visit, even if you aren’t a car buff. Enter on a footbridge that crosses a canal and find yourself in a multi-media hall worthy of all the international praise. More than 500 working cars are organized into eras starting in 1878 with the forerunners and ending with modern designs. The supercar classics made from 1918 to 1938 are some of the most impressive. An outdoor Autodrome features a three-ring exhibition track and seating for spectators.

Museum of Printed Textiles (Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes) is both an art gallery and an education in the technique of printing on fabrics. More than six million cloth designs fill the building, and special exhibitions take place throughout the year.

St. Stephen’s Church (Temple Saint-Étienne) is a mid 19th-century Protestant church that dominates the city’s historic main square, Place de la Réunion. Notice the steeple, which holds five huge bells that were made in Zurich. Then, step inside to admire the large 14th-century stained-glass windows that came from an older church which once stood on the same spot.

Mulhouse, France, Alsace
Photo by WireLizard

===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

On a Leisurely Afternoon

Stop by the Parc Zoologique et Botanique (Zoo and Botanical Garden) to enjoy the beautiful grounds and diverse collection of animals from around the world. Several themed gardens are grouped by plant type and include a variety of rare trees. Kids get a special thrill from interacting with dwarf and baby animals in the petting section and enjoy watching the keepers feed different birds and mammals at specific times throughout the day.

The historical district of Mulhouse isn’t as charming as you’ll find in Colmar and Strasbourg because World War II took a devastating toll on the city and its architecture. However, look beyond the rather dull modern buildings to see lovely manor houses, colorful walls, and a few hidden monuments.

Look for the 13th-century Tour du Diable (Devil’s Tower) and 14th-century Tour du Bollwerk (Bollwerk Tower), now a jewelry store, which are about 0.7m/1.2km apart. They are all that remains of the fortification wall that once surrounded ancient Mulhouse.

Between the two towers is the town square Place de la Réunion and Temple Saint-Étienne. Across the plaza is the 16th-century Hôtel de Ville et Musée Historique (Town Hall and History Museum). A block to the south at 4 Rue Guillaume Tell, you’ll find Villa Steinbach, a handsome 18th-century house that now serves as the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Art). Phone: 03 89 33 78 11. The museum is being renovated so call ahead or check the website to verify that it has reopened.

Shoppers and Browsers

Look no further than the Covered Canal Market (Marché du Canal Couvert) for Alsatian products, seasonal produce, and specialty goods from around the world. More than 300 vendors set up stalls on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays inside and outside the vast building on Quai de la Cloche, about 0.6 m/1.1 km from Place de la Réunion. It’s worth a visit just to see all the striking colors and smell the spicy air. In addition to fruit and vegetables, you’ll find fabrics, leather goods, skin creams, toys, baked goods, and deli meats.

Rue du Sauvage is the place for a conventional shopping spree. Trendy shops line the avenue. Look for favorites such as Pandora, Zara, and Yves Rocher.

Booking Accommodation

To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in, or near Mulhouse, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. To book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you are headed for a particular region, enter your preferred city/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.


===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

At A Glance

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