A large, sprawling, industrial city 35km south of Colmar, Mulhouse was Swiss until 1798 when, at the peak of its prosperity (founded on printed textiles), it voted to become part of France. Today it bills itself as a “museum town”, with at least four that might grab your interest. It’s much cheaper to stay here than in neighbouring Colmar (or Basel), plus it offers the best nightlife in Alsace should you find yourself there over a weekend. The hôtel de ville on the central place de la Réunion contains a beautifully presented history of the city in the Musée Historique. The Neo-Gothic cathedral opposite the museum was built in 1866, replacing a twelfth-century church, yet its fourteenth-century stained glass is considered the most beautiful in the Upper Rhine; this is the only Protestant cathedral standing in a main square in France.

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