The second largest town in Alsace, Mulhouse is situated at a European crossroads, just 25 minutes from Basel in Switzerland and 30 minutes from Freiburg in Germany. Nicknamed the "French Manchester", Mulhouse was an industrial pioneer in the 19th century: it was important in the textile industry and within engineering. The city remains proud of its industrial past, with several technical museums including some of the most prestigious in Europe.
Close to the Alsace wine route and to the Ballon des Vosges regional park, Mulhouse ticks many boxes, with its history and culture as well as nature and the local cuisine to discover.
The compact historic town centre is focused on the Place de la Réunion, which commemorates Mulhouse becoming part of France in 1798. Pink and gold, the wonderfully kistch Hôtel de Ville in Mulhouse is like a pink-iced Renaissance cake. Look out for a mask hanging from a chain on one of the gables, but watch what you say: this klapperstein (gossip stone) was hung round the neck of malicious gossips as they were paraded around the town sitting backwards on a donkey.
The Saint-Etienne Protestant Temple, the Maison Mieg and the Pharmacie du Lys (dating from 1634) are also to be found on this fine square, which is never more animated than during the International Carnival of Mulhouse.
A flagship of industry, Mulhouse has many interesting and well-known technical museums. You'll find the history of the automobile at the National Automobile Museum - Schlumpf Collection, where car enthusiasts and small boys will drool with envy in front of over 100 classic models including makes such as Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Panhard, Hispano-Suiza, Maserati as well as Peugot and Citroën. In July, the Automobile Festival in Mulhouse sees even more vintage vehicles descend upon Mulhouse.
The Cité du Train - French Railway Museum is another must-see in Mulhouse. With 12 tracks and 6 different themes you'll step back in time to the golden age of railways (1844-1960).
After all those machines, clear your head with some fresh air at the Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Mulhouse, one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe, where you'll find rare species of flora and fauna. And if the whole family are inspired to learn more about the Earth: take the kids to Bioscope, a leisure park dedicated to the environment.
Wine lovers, take note: 40 minutes from Mulhouse you'll find the Museum of the Vineyard and of the Wines of Alsace in Kientzheim, a reference point in the world of wines from the Alsace region. Reserve your places and get to know the grands crus: Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot blanc, Tokay Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sylvaner, and so on.
Travel to Mulhouse to enjoy the varied pleasures of this historic cultural crossroads.
De gare à gare