While my visit to Zurich got me into the Christmas spirit, Mulhouse is where I fell in love with Christmas Markets!
Mulhouse is located in the Alsace region of France, near the Swiss and German borders. It is the second largest city in the region (after Strasbourg). Like many cities in the Alsace area, Mulhouse has a long history of changing allegiance between Germany and France, often depending on which country won the most recent war.
Les Étoufféeries – Christmas Market in Mulhouse
Sometimes referred to as the “most colorful” Christmas Market, Mulhouse celebrates its history in the textile industry by creating a unique Christmas fabric each year that is used to decorate the stalls and buildings around the city.
The market itself is held at Place de la Réunion, the city’s central square in the Old Town area and surrounded by several important buildings, including the Temple Saint-Étienne and the City Hall.
Musée Historique de Mulhouse (City Hall / Historical Museum)
Located within Mulhouse’s City Hall is the Historical Museum. While the outside of the City Hall is richly decorated in the year’s fabric, the inside is a walk through Mulhouse’s past. See elements of how residents used to live, and how they may have decorated their home for Christmas. During the Christmas Market, the Museum is open from 1pm – 7pm and the entrance fee is always FREE.
City Christmas Lights at Night
The entire area around the market is decorated with beautiful lights at Christmas time, that sparkle just a little bit more after a winter rain.
Mulhouse Christmas Market at Night
I walked around the square and was mesmerized by the lights in Mulhouse. Whether as decorations, on the market stalls or on the facades of the buildings themselves, everything was lit up with festive cheer.
There are over 100 stalls at the Mulhouse Christmas Market where local artists sell their creations, homemade vin chaud (mulled wine) and other food items. I selected a broccoli & ham tartine and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) for my treat this evening.
Ferris Wheel at the Christmas Market
My first Christmas Market Ferris Wheel ride happened in Mulhouse! Riding to a height of 38 meters, you can get a gorgeous view of the market square, City Hall, Temple Saint-Étienne and over the rooftops of the city.
Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes (Museum of Printed Textiles)
Fabric printing started in Mulhouse around 1746, and by the 19th century, the city emerged as a leader in the textile industry. The museum’s collection contains over 6 million samples, 50,000 documents and a timeline of machinery used in the production of printed material.
One thing to note, all of the signage and information plaques are only in French. However, even with my rudimentary high school knowledge of the language, I was able to get the gist of the exhibit and enjoyed it immensely. You don’t necessarily need words to appreciate the beauty in something.
The entrance fee is €10 ($12) and their ticket is actually a piece of printed fabric! So, you get to take a piece of Mulhouse with you.
One of the exhibits, when I was there, was a multimedia installation showing a movie on either side and projecting different patterns of textiles onto the dress in the center. It was fascinating to watch!
Best Western Hotel de la Bourse
My hotel in Mulhouse was the Best Western Hotel de la Bourse. It was very spacious and even included a full-sized tub in the bathroom – not always a given in European hotels! It was centrally located just a couple blocks from the train station, making my arrival and departure very easy. It was a short, easy walk to the Christmas Market and the Museum of Printed Textile was just around the corner. One thing to note, although they had a breakfast buffet available here it was not included in the price of the room so I elected to get my breakfast at a local restaurant instead.
Food in Mulhouse
In addition to the Hot Chocolate and tartine at the Christmas Market, I also enjoyed some delicious foods in Mulhouse. My first lunch was a Ham & Cheese sandwich from the super cute La Grignotte Montaigne. I couldn’t pass up coffee at a cafe named after one of my nephews, so enjoyed a cafe au lait for my afternoon pick me up at Carlos Gourmet. One of my favorite dinners while traveling is sushi, and I found a great little spot in Mulhouse called Resto Sushi’s. While I meandered around town in the morning I came upon the delightful Salon de Thé L’Opera and enjoyed a Croque Monsieur for breakfast. (Not pictured is the boulangerie Croust’y Pain where I got a takeaway sandwich and croissant for lunch on my 2nd day.)
Christmas Market Souvenir
Before leaving, I took one last walk – and drank one last hot chocolate – at the Christmas Market. I also decided I wanted to take a piece of this market home with me, so purchased a pair of napkins in this year’s Christmas Fabric!
The Budget for Mulhouse, France
My budget for the two days I spent at the Christmas Market in Mulhouse came to a total of $197 – including the souvenir napkins!
My budget has been translated to USD, based on my final credit card charge or a google conversion where I paid in cash.
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