Situated on the Alsace-Swiss border, Mulhouse's pedestrianised city centre, colourful houses and rich industrial heritage are sure to charm. I tried out some beautiful walks for you to get to know the heart of the Mulhouse region
Here's a list of 10 places or activities you can only see or do in Mulhouse!
1. Discover a city with unique history
Like all European cities, the tour starts in the centre, which is almost always in the old city. Mulhouse follows this rule, as its historic heart leads off the Place de la Réunion, where you can enjoy an itinerary taking in lovely shops and pretty houses.
Mulhouse's originality actually lies in its "industrial" area as, unlike other cities, Mulhouse was independent from 1648 to 1798. This autonomy meant that it did not have to obey Colbert's law giving royal manufacturers a monopoly. Mulhouse was therefore the only city in the region with the power to design its own printed 'Indian fabrics'. In fact, the textile industry became this city's main economic activity for several centuries, enabling major urban development, a must see.
To complete your unusual fabric-centred visit to Mulhouse, go to the Wesserling Park, 35 km outside Mulhouse. This textile ecomuseum is also the largest park in Alsace, and is listed on the Historic Monuments' supplementary inventory. You can visit the factory buildings, manor houses, a farm… and gardens.
2. Quirky museums
To continue exploring Mulhouse's textile history, you must visit the fabric-printing museum. This unique place presents the city's history from the perspective of its flagship activity and the evolution of the fabric printing industry, displaying looms and the various techniques used… it's fascinating!
Incidentally Mulhouse seems to specialise in themed industrial museums with the Cité de l'Auto (collection of vintage cars), the Cité du Train (home to the first steam train amongst others) and the EDF Electropolis museum (focusing on the history of electricity and household appliances!)
3. Savour a Mannala or Schnackala!
There's nothing like a great Mulhouse eatery for fine dining. And to taste the local specialities, you have to try a Mannala (brioche shaped like a man) or a Schnackala (the same bread but shaped like an S) from a bakery, or select Fleischschnacka (sausage roll), Sürlawerla (veal liver with gravy) or Lawerknäpfa (quenelle of liver) in a restaurant…
4. Go back in time at the ecomuseum
Located in Ungersheim, 15 km to the north of Mulhouse, the Alsace ecomuseum allows you to discover regional history. A reconstruction of a traditional village complete with houses from across the entire region, the museum presents 40,000 ancient artefacts, craftsmen at work and events associated with yesteryear…
5 - 5. Meet a greeter to explore their city and region
Mulhouse greeters are residents who love their city and region, who will show you their favourite places and take you to see the most beautiful views. It's a real experience to be able to meet these locals! It offers you the chance to get genuine, friendly and free insights.
6. Walk the Thur valley
Need some nature? The Hautes Vosges are the gateway to Mulhouse. The charming countryside of the Thur valley should be combined with a visit to a mine (Wittelsheim), a church (Thann), or a vineyard (Rangen)… and topped off with a lakeside picnic!
7 - Enjoy the Petit Prince theme park
The world's first aerial theme park is located between Mulhouse and Colmar! At Le Petit Prince, you can visit animals, fly in a balloon and enjoy 'interplanetary' journeys...it's a fantastic day for the whole family!
8. Cross the border for a day-trip to southern Germany
It's a simple 20 minutes drive to reach southern Germany, an area which is home to beautiful rolling countryside and many things to discover. Take off for a day of well-being, or visit fairy-tale castles…
9. Jaunt to Switzerland
Basel lies 35 km from Mulhouse - about 20 minutes away by train. It's a surprising and very "cultured" city. The old city is charming and pedestrianised but Basel is also a hothouse of contemporary architecture and several of its 40 museums have gained international recognition. Every June, Basel is also the capital of contemporary art during the week-long Art Basel International Contemporary Art Fair!
10. Hike the Black Forest
The Black Forest in Germany stretches the length of the French border from Mulhouse to Strasbourg. There are no fewer than 23,000 km of footpaths for you to stretch your legs.
From Mulhouse, Freiburg-in-Breisgau is your entrance to the Black Forest to explore peaks (the highest is 1493 m above sea level), mountain ranges and forest panoramas…
You can also spend a delightful romantic weekend in the heart of the Black Forest!