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Mulhouse France

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Mulhouse (pronounced something like "mou looze" in French) voted to leave Switzerland and become part of France in 1798. Today it is an expansive industrial city, about 40km south of the more attractive town of Colmar, that does not have much in common with the other picturesque Alsatian towns.

Mulhouse hasn't got much of an old centre, and so does not reap rewards for anyone hoping to wander aimlessly through some pretty back streets. It does, however, have some of the more weird and wonderful of France's museums, and these make Mulhouse worth a visit in themselves. There is also the jazz festival in August with concerts all over town, giving the atmosphere a boost and making this a more lively time to visit.

First up is the railway museum the Musée Francais du Chemin de Fer and the adjoining firefighters' museum Musée du Sapeur Pompier both of which are housed in a defunct railway station at 2 rue Alfred de Glehn. €7 buys you entry to both museums. Continuing the technological theme is the car museum the Musée National de l'Automobile at 192 avenue de Colmar (€9.20) which has around 600 cars from the early days, through to Porsches and modern prototypes. Near to the station at 14 rue Jean Jacques Henner (€5.50), there is a great fabric museum the Musée de l'Impression sur Étoffes containing a collection of fabrics from all over the world that was begun in 1833 and now has over 3 million samples.

The gare SNCF is five minutes' walk south of place de la Réunion and the tourist office is 200m into town from the station at 9 avenue du Maréchal Foch (03 89 35 48 48). Accommodation in Mulhouse can seem expensive for what you get. For rooms that are good value for money, try the Hotel de Paris at 5 passage de l'Hotel de Ville (03 89 45 21 41) or the Central at 15 17 passage Central (03 89 46 18 84) with rooms for under €30 and €40 55 respectively. Eating in Mulhouse can be overpriced if you opt for the traditional Alsatian restaurants, but places such as Le Bistrot à Huitres at 2 rue Moenschberg does excellent seafood menus from €20 or there is a good crêperie at 14 impasse des Tondeurs with menus from €7.60 15.