10 Fun & Best Things to Do in Mulhouse, France

Temple Saint-Étienne, one of the best things to do in Mulhouse

The historic town of Mulhouse, France, sits at the intersection of three countries: France, Germany, and Switzerland. More than 1,200 years have passed since the city’s founding, and during that time, the city has seen three different flags fly over it: Switzerland in the 1600s, Germany in the 1800s, and France in the early 20th century. These are the best things to do in Mulhouse.

With its colorful blend of many distinct cultures, Mulhouse, France, exists as a unique window into the region’s history. If you love wandering around museums, Mulhouse will deliver with its bevy of venues celebrating art, automobiles, trains, and the textile industry.

One of the perks of visiting Mulhouse is that its train station is an easy stop coming from popular destinations throughout the region. You can add Mulhouse to your itinerary whether you’re visiting Germany, Switzerland, France, or a combination of all three! Mulhouse is the ideal destination when you want to fill a day of your travels.

You can save a few Euros with the Mulhouse City Pass, which gives you one of your museum entries for free and discounts your other visits, as well as some other cool perks like free public transit, a free guided tour, and discounts on rental cars.

Before planning your trip, look at these best things to do in Mulhouse.

TL;DR

Category Our Pick
Most significant landmark Musée National de l’Automobile
Free activity Hôtel de Ville
Activity for kids Parc du Petit Prince
Activity for adults Cité du Train
Place to eat Il Cortile
Best nightlife Le Gambrinus
Best Place to Stay Hotel Bristol

Things to Do in Mulhouse, France

1. Drive a historic car at the Cité de l’Automobile

Le musée de l'automobile , Collection Schlumpf, ville de Mulhouse, département du Haut Rhin, France
ERIC – stock.adobe.com

Address: 17 Rue de la Mertzau, 68100 Mulhouse, France

Also known as the Musée National de l’Automobile or the Mulhouse Car Museum, you’ll see 500 historic automobiles from almost 100 carmakers when you visit the Cité de l’Automobile. A guide accompanies small groups through the museum, but bear in mind they offer tours in French, so consider a crash course en Français before you arrive.

The Cité de l’Automobile was established in 1978 and offers more than calm strolls past old cars for car enthusiasts. One of the reasons it’s the best car museum in Europe is because you can actually drive a historic car for an additional fee.

It’s not that expensive either, considering you’ll be getting behind the wheel of classics like a 1974 Lamborghini Urraco or a 1965 Mustang. After your thrilling drive, spend your evening at Le Gambrinus, a popular Mulhouse pub and a personal favorite.

See Related: Best Car Museums in Germany to Visit

2. Explore the unique Cité du Train

Alsace - Mulhouse - Cité du train - Locomotive Stephenson L'Aigle 1846
Marytog – stock.adobe.com

Address: 2 Rue Alfred de Glehn, 68200 Mulhouse, France

Once known as the French Railways Museum, the Cité du Train opened its doors in the early 1970s and has undergone several expansions over the years as administrators have added to the collection.

Most recently, the museum took possession of the famous TGV-Atlantique #325, which set a speed record of 515.3 km/h in the early 1990s. Admittedly, trains aren’t the most exciting things for people who aren’t already fans like me, but the Cite Du Train is a rather unique and easy stop during your Mulhouse journey.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in France & Things to Do

3. Visit the free museum in the Hôtel de Ville

City Hall of Mulhouse. Mulhouse is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders
milosk50 / Shutterstock.com

Address: 2 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 68100 Mulhouse, France

The Hôtel de Ville is in the Place de la Réunion, the city center of Mulhouse, but the building isn’t actually a hotel. The Hôtel de Ville is the old town hall of Mulhouse and was built in 1552. You’ll find the Musée Historique de Mulhouse inside the building, which is small but free and is not to be missed.

Also known as the Mairie de Mulhouse, the town hall is just a stone’s throw away from the local tourist office. So, start with a visit to the tourist office for information and then walk over to the town hall and continue your afternoon wandering around the Place de la Réunion.

For planning purposes, remember that the museum is only open during the week and closes at the end of the business day. Make sure you visit early on a weekday for your dose of local history.

See Related: Where to Stay in Alsace

4. Wonder at the Temple Saint-Étienne church

Temple Saint-Étienne, one of the best things to do in Mulhouse
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Place de la Reunion, 68100 Mulhouse, France

The giant Temple Saint-Étienne church is exactly what you might envision when you think of a city in 19th century France or Europe, with its Neo-Gothic style and towering façade. One of the coolest features of this Protestant church is that the stained glass windows were plucked from the original 12th-century church that once stood on the site.

The town center of Mulhouse is an excellent place to stay, and a convenient accommodation is the Hotel Bristol. Ask for an interior room since the exterior can get noisy. Mulhouse is also home to several vacation homes, so if you’d rather score an entire apartment for your visit, try the Gîte des Victoires.

See Related: Day Trips from Strasbourg, France

5. Learn something new at the Musée EDF Electropolis

Exhibit at Musée EDF Electropolis
Alf van Beem / Wikimedia Commons, CC0

Address: 55 Rue du Pâturage, 68200 Mulhouse, France

For the fifth activity on our list, we head to another museum: the Musée EDF Electropolis or Electropolis Museum. The museum has an appreciable level of interest for older children and features a 20-minute show with experiments and electricity exhibits.

Most of us know the basics about electricity, but we don’t think about anything more than power outlets and the bill at the end of the month. The Electropolis Museum is a neat visit to see devices like Voss’s electrostatic machine and Edison’s dictaphone.

You’ll learn about early 17th-century experiments and how inventors like Eidson, Volta, and Tesla changed our lives forever with their machines. It’s sure to spark your curiosity.

See Related: Things to Do in Colmar, France

6. Marvel at the Musée de l’Impression sur Étoffe

Front of Musée de l’Impression sur Étoffe
Gzen92 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 14 Rue Jean Jacques Henner, 68100 Mulhouse, France

If you don’t speak French, don’t assume that the Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes is a gallery of Impressionist art featuring works by Claude Monet. This museum offers information on the history of textiles and the decorative arts in France.

In English, this museum is known as the Museum of Printed Textiles. Mulhouse was once known as French Manchester due to its importance to the worldwide textile industry.

The building features six million textile samples and many historic sewing machines like a Lefèvre copper roller. Believe it or not, Mulhouse once handled more than 30 percent of the world’s cotton spinning production!

See Related: Most Beautiful Small Towns in France

7. Have fun at the Tour du Belvédère

Tour du Belvédère in Mulhouse, France
Lantus / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Rue du Belvedere, 68100 Mulhouse, France

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Mulhouse, enjoy an elevated view of Mulhouse and the surrounding countryside when you climb the Tour du Belvédère, which resembles a mini Eiffel Tower. The tower is the perfect destination for a break in your visits to the museums of Mulhouse and is about 2.5 kilometers south (or about 1.7 miles) of the Place de la Réunion.

Want to know the best way to experience the Tour du Belvédère? One of the best outdoor activities in Mulhouse is taking a bicycle ride to the tower from any point in town to enjoy the scenery.

When you climb the tower, you can see famous vistas of the Grand Est (Grand East), like Germany’s Black Forest and the Alps. This view is hard to top!

See Related: The Ultimate Black Forest Itinerary

8. Visit the Parc du Petit Prince

Aerial view of Parc du Petit Prince
Thomas Bresson / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Address: Rue de l’Espoir, 68190 Ungersheim, France

Looking for things to do in the area with your kids? The Parc du Petit Prince is a small amusement park inspired by the French-language book “The Little Prince,” originally published in the 1940s by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A Le Parc du Petit Prince entry ticket is affordable, and you may find it convenient to buy a ticket in advance.

The park features 34 attractions, all ideal for young children. At about 20 minutes north of Mulhouse, getting there by car is easiest, but you can also take the train and a bus if you’re willing to walk a bit during the journey and have decided to forgo a rental car.

See Related: Best Theme Parks in Europe to Visit

9. Wander around the Parc Zoologique et Botanique de Mulhouse

Parc zoologique et botanique de Mulhouse in Mulhouse, France
Pierre Violet / Adobe Stock

Address: 111 Av. de la 1ère Division Blindée, 68100 Mulhouse, France

The Parc Zoologique et Botanique de Mulhouse, also known as the Zoological and Botanical Park of Mulhouse, was once a humble garden where locals would gather. Today, the botanical gardens are just one of the reasons people visit, as there are more than 1,200 animals, thousands of plants, and exotic trees now on display throughout the park.

The zoo has a whole range of animals that you wouldn’t associate with Europe, including snow leopards, polar bears, and Siberian tigers. If you don’t have much time to spend in Mulhouse and just visit a few venues and get some food, the gardens are a 20-minute walk from the train station.

However, you can spend a day meandering around the gardens and zoo. If you’re in town all day, consider dinner at Il Cortile at 11 Rue des Franciscans, a local Michelin Star restaurant.

See Related: Day Trips from Paris, France

10. Explore the Christmas Market

Mulhouse Christmas Market in Snow
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Place de la Reunion, 68100 Mulhouse, France

If your travels to Mulhouse will take you to France between late November and December, the Mulhouse Christmas Market should definitely appear on your itinerary. The city center is decorated in traditional textiles and Christmas cloth during the holiday season, especially for the market.

The Christmas market has grown larger in the past few years, but the locals discontinued the popular Ferris wheel to allow more room to access the purveyors of delicious food, drinks, and specialty textiles.

Watch our video from exploring this charming market from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

See Related: Best Christmas Markets in Europe

FAQ

Why is Mulhouse famous?

Mulhouse is a historic industrial town with a love for invention and museums, with popular attractions like the train and car museums, as well as a handful of art and history exhibits. The city once earned the title of the “industrial capital of Alsace.”

Is it worth visiting Mulhouse?

Mulhouse offers a fascinating look into multiple facets of the history of the Alsace region. You won’t spend a week here luxuriating, though. You’ll probably spend one or two days getting your fill of fun at several Mulhouse museums and historical sites.

Is Mulhouse in France or Switzerland?

Technically, Mulhouse is in France, but it’s so close to the border with Switzerland that the two countries actually share the running of the local EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport. Over the last 1,000 years, Mulhouse has been part of several countries as borders have migrated.

How long is the train from Zurich to Mulhouse?

The train from Zurich to Mulhouse is a quick 90 minutes, so you may include Mulhouse as part of a Swiss vacation or in your travels around France. Train tickets are affordable, too, and usually cost less than €20. You can also use the bus system to reach Mulhouse, France.

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Kyle Kroeger
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Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.