Top city attractions include the World Heritage site of Strasbourg, the old districts of Colmar and the stunning museums of Mulhouse. Whatever the choice, every city guarantees a unique experience, luxury hotels and a wide choice of restaurants to enjoy the fine wines and traditional food of Alsace.
Strasbourg , Top City Attractions for a Short Break
At the heart of Alsace, Strasbourg is a delightful city to explore on foot. The Old Town is a world heritage site, all waterways, quaint bridges and pretty lanes lined with traditional flower-draped buildings. The tanners’ house in Petite-France and Maison Kammerzel on Cathedral Square are among the most photographed.
The Gothic cathedral is one of the finest in France, with a 142 metre high façade, a superb rose window, outstanding sculptures and an astronomical clock. The nearby museum is devoted to medieval and Renaissance art and includes original statues and treasures from the cathedral. On the bank of the Ill is the elegant 18th century Chateau des Rohan, a former bishops’ palace now housing several museums.
Strasbourg shares with Brussels the seat of the European Parliament which may be visited at certain times.
Colmar and the Little Venice of Alsace
Little Venice is the most romantic district in Colmar, a lovely spot to explore by boat, gliding along the river Lauch past weeping willows and half timbered houses, once home to fishermen and market gardeners. Other favourites are the tanners’ district and elegant private buildings such as Maison Pfister or the old customs house.
Colmar also boasts some outstanding works of art, namely the stirring Isenheim altarpiece by Grunewald, exhibited in the Unterlinden museum, and the 15th century painting of the Virgin in a Bower of Roses in the Dominican church. The Bartholdi museum is dedicated to the local sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty.
Mulhouse, Heritage Trail and Museums
Down south, Mulhouse has reinvented itself as a city of culture, turning its industrial heritage to best advantage. Besides museums of Fine Arts and History, visitors will find a Cité du Train, dedicated to French railways, Electropolis with over 10 000 exhibits unravelling the mysteries of electricity and the renowned Musée de l’Automobile, spanning the history of car manufacture and displaying over 600 models.
Mulhouse most unusual museums include Papier Peint, or wallpaper, exhibiting among others panoramic wallpaper as used in the White House, and Printed Fabric. With six million patterns and 50 000 textile samples, this is the largest museum of its kind in the world. Also worth a visit is the nearby Ecomusée d’Alsace and its collection of funfair carrousels.