Mulhouse is a medium-size town in the industrial heartland of Alsace-Lorraine. This part of France is famous for hosting many famous factories and also for the invention of various things during the centuries. The best way to discover Mulhouse is by using the local public transport and to arrive here by train.
I was travelling across Europe using my Interrail pass from London to Budapest and as part of my trip I stopped off in Mulhouse. I spent my first night in Strasbourg and then took a train to Mulhouse and then on to Zurich in Switzerland.
Travelling to Mulhouse by Train – Video
Watch this video to learn about what to do in Mulhouse and then scroll down to see some nice additional photos.
Using Interral Should Not Cost The Earth
A lot of people have been put off using Interrail because of the additional costs involved when booking places on high speed trains. Yes, it is annoying that you have to pay extra on top of the already expensive pass but this should not stop you from having some fun. That is because most regional trains are also fast and very convenient! In fact, if you are not in a rush I would say it is not worth shelling out extra for the high speed trains. Often the high speed train uses the same tracks, the only difference is it doesn’t stop in as many places.
Things to Do in Mulhouse
Mulhouse is an amazing town halfway between Strasbourg and Basel in a region called Alsace-Lorraine. I arrived in Mulhouse in the morning around 11AM and went for a walk around town.
Mulhouse is about an hour away from Basel and there are two big museums here. One of them is the railway museum and the other one is the car museum. Since I had almost all day here I decided to go and look at them both.
How to Get to The Museums
Once you get off the train buy yourself a day ticket for the local trams and visit one or two of the museums. For the car museum you will need Line 1 but for the car museum you need to take Line 3. For the Museum of Electricity and the City of the Railways take Line 3. I would recommend starting with the rail museum, which is slightly out of town.
It will take about 15 minutes to get there by tram, but the ride is very enjoyable and fast. I arrived at the City of the Railways in the outskirts of Mulhouse about 15 minutes after departing from the railway station. If you like to learn about the region’s industry, there is another major museum here called the City of Electricity right in front of the railway museum.
I was more interested in the railway museum so I went inside and skipped the City of Electricity. The railway museum was the idea of a couple of local rail enthusiasts and recently the national railways, SNCF has also provided some funding for it.
The Mulhouse Railway Museum
The result is a huge exhibition where any rail enthusiast will find it easy to spend a whole morning or afternoon! I certainly had a great time walking in between the various trains explaining the history of France’s railways. There are simulators and various smaller exhibitions showing how the high speed network developed and they also provide some examples of how people used to travel in style.
After about three hours at the railway museum I got myself some lunch and headed back into town to check out the famous car museum. The tram was so fast that it often overtook the freight engine on the parallel track!
I love public transport systems and Mulhouse is a pretty amazing city with trams and buses going all over the place. If you are an anorak like me you will definitely have a lot of fun. Mulhouse even has a tram train that uses the tram and railway tracks to connect the suburbs and the city center.
The Mulhouse Public Transport System
All tram lines meet in the city center at the shopping center and again at the main railway station. I got off Line 3 at the city center and changed to Line 1 there. After about 10 minutes on the tram I arrived at the car museum. It takes about 30 minutes to track across the city to arrive at the automobile museum.
The Mulhouse Car Museum
The car museum in Mulhouse is simply massive with hundreds of cars on display. There is also a race track where they showcase the cars and if you pay you can even test drive them!
If you come before 3PM you might be able to see the race in the garden. The race starts at 3pm when they do some special rounds with some of the old cars on display.
The exhibition starts with the older models from the 19th century and then progresses to more modern versions such as the Bugatti Veyron and various race cars.
Why a Huge Car Museum in Mulhouse?
You might wonder why there is such a huge car museum in Mulhouse of all places… The answer is that Mulhouse is home to the famous PSA-Peugeot Citroen factory!
There is even a dedicated corner for the plant inside the museum. Mulhouse has changed hands many times during history. It was the industrial powerhouse of France first, then Germany and then France again following various wars and bloodshed. Since WWI it is again part of France and all the museums around here showcase the region’s history.
The World Famous Bugattis
The exhibition is home to various Bugattis, including the world’s largest which at one time consumed 50 liters per 100 kilometers – so it was quite a hungry engine.
The same car weighed six tonnes and it had a 15 liter engine! It wasn’t selling very well so basically what they did was they took the engine out and they put it into a train – which then became successful! So, you can imagine how powerful this engine is if then they could just use it in a train.
When I could walk no more, I decided to leave Mulhouse. The exhibition is pretty big and it goes on forever and I’ve even seen the race outside so I would definitely recommend a visit to anyone interested in cars.