Mulhouse is a little-known town in the east of France, close to the German border. The name Mulhouse refers to the mill wheel which was built on the site of the present town over 1000 years ago, although the town itself was not founded until 1308. With a population of 110 000, Mulhouse is today the second largest town in the département of Alsace and a centre for electronics and car production – the Peugeot manufacturing site employs almost 13000 people. Industrial production goes back a long way - in 1746, a fabric-printing workshop was established in Mulhouse and the textiles boom of the 1800s led to increased mechanisation and the establishment of trade schools in the town. The building of the Rhone-Rhine canal and the railways further bolstered the local economy and Mulhouse became one of the most prosperous of all French industrial towns. During four years of Nazi occupation, from 1940 to 1944, Mulhouse suffered the effects of enforced deportation and bombing, but post-war reconstruction brought some compensation in the form of improved living conditions and prosperity. Given all this manufacturing and with Walsall in the West Midlands as its twin town, you might think Mulhouse was all about industry. But you'd be wrong – with a history stretching back to the 12th century, fine Alsatian architecture and cuisine and plenty of local wine on offer, Mulhouse is well worth a visit.


Mulhouse has over a dozen museums, including the [ National Automobile Museum], the fascinating [ Museum of Printed Textiles] and a museum dedicated to trains – [ Cité du Train]. To really make the most of all that's on offer, get hold of a Museums Pass which gives you free entry to all museums in the Upper Rhine region – it costs €30 for a one-month pass.

To get a feel for Mulhouse in the Middle Ages, head for the Place de la Réunion in the heart of town. Markets and important community activities have taken place here for hundreds of years,and several of Mulhouse's most important historic buildings are found here – a particularly fine example of vernacular medieval architecture is the Maison Mieg, a house that has remained unchanged since 1560. You won't be able to miss the Renaissance-era Hôtel de Ville, built in 1552 when Mulhouse was a member of the Swiss confederation - it's façade is a garish pink colour! Also in the town centre, look out for the 19th century Church of Saint Etienne, which still retains the stained glass windows of the original 12th century church.

Different in feel is the Cité, a district of identical homes and gardens conceived and built in the 19th century. The housing was built for Mulhouse's working class – much the same as the factory villages of Saltaire and Bourneville in the UK. Similarly, the Cité was built by philanthropists who wished to provide decent housing for their employees in the town's textile factories.

During the summer months, the tourist office runs hour-long tours of Mulhouse's historic core, taking in the sights mentioned above. It only costs €4 per person, and children under 12 go free.


The town centre is packed with shops, catering for all tastes and needs. [ Vitrines de Mulhouse] is an association of 200 stores which organises late-night shopping and special events. Latest details can be found on their website. The Marché du Canal Couvert takes place three times a week, with close to 300 stallholders trading from around 6am - a great place for fresh produce and lively conversation!

In December, Mulhouse hosts a wonderful Christmas Market. It's very similar to those in Germany, with stalls packed in tightly and everything from biscuits to handicrafts on sale. Mulled wine, spiced cider and crepes are on hand to keep you warm while you wander.

Nightlife and Eating Out

[ A l'etoile restaurant] is a traditional Alsatian winstub, roughly translated as a wine bar but offering much more than simply a glass of local plonk. The restaurant has a well-stocked cellar so you can sample regional wines like Gewurztraminer and the sparkling Crémant d'Alsace. The meals are very reasonably priced and there are plenty of traditional dishes on offer, including Les Sürlawerlas (minced veal liver with sweet and sour sauce) or a baeckaoffa (a simple, but delicious, slow-cooked stew). Another good place to try local food is the [ Auberge des Franciscains] restaurant in the historic centre of town. Mulhouse has dozens of bars, pubs and cafés – for the name alone it's hard to beat La Taverne des Chevaliers Teutoniques! Many bars stay open until 1.30am. For clubbing, try [ Le Retro] just off Place de la Paix or [ La Salle des Coffres] on rue du Sauvage - the latter has loads of theme nights. Mulhouse also has three cinemas, and you can play laser tag at the Kinepolis Cinema.

Tourist Information

Office de Tourisme et des Congrès 9, avenue Foch68 100 Mulhouse

  • Telephone: + 33 3 89 35 48 48
  • E-mail :
  • Website: []


Located only 25km south of Mulhouse, the [ EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg] is easily reached by road – it's a 30 minute drive. Taxis are available outside the terminal building, and buses run regularly to Mulhouse, also serving the railway station in the town.

There are no direct flights from the UK, but you can travel via Paris with Air France or fly into another local airport, such as Basel or Baden-Baden which are both served by regular flights. Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Paris, and change there for a train to Mulhouse.

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