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The Christmas Market of Mulhouse

With a population of about 100,000, Mulhouse is a largely industrial city located in the Grand Est region of France only about 20 miles from the Swiss and German borders. Of the three Christmas markets I visited, it's the smallest but by no means less beautiful.

The Marché de Noël is located in the lovely Place de la Réunion bordered by the Temple Saint-Etienne, the stunning Hotel de Ville (City Hall) built in the 16th century and across from it beautifully painted Renaissance buildings. At the other end of the square children were enjoying the brightly-lit merry-go-round.

The Hotel de Ville houses the historical museum of Mulhouse and during the Christmas market the ground floor is turned into a boutique selling ceramics, ornaments and other Christmas-themed items.

The Hotel de Ville by day.

Every year Mulhouse chooses a unique pattern designed by an Alsatian designer to represent the textile industry for which Mulhouse is known. In 2022 when I visited, the design was shades of red accented by golden shooting stars. It was printed on kitchenware, tablecloths, placemats, aprons and other fabrics.

These are some of the designs from previous years.

The little chalets offered a variety of goodies from gingerbread and other French delicacies to Christmas ornaments and jewelry.

By night the square turns into a magical wonderland.

The little trolley takes visitors around the old town.

Of course, a "vin chaud" or mulled wine was a requirement to take the chill off! You pay a 1 Euro deposit. If you don't want to keep the glass, you can turn it in and get your Euro back. Otherwise it's yours as a souvenir.

Some more of the lovely and quaint decorations around the old town.

My Hotel

Not surprisingly, hotel rates in Alsace are hefty during the Christmas season. Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Pierre ( who lived in the region and is a wealth of information about everything French, I stayed in a quaint hotel steps from the Place de la Réunion during my three days in Alsace.

The Maison Hotel couldn't have been a better choice. The staff was delightful and I felt like I was stepping into a forest of Christmas trees every time I came in the door.

This tiny vintage VW bus doubled as a small bar and I looked forward to relaxing with a glass of wine when I returned each night.

Top Tips

  • The Mulhouse Christmas market is small enough to see in a day (and night), but you might want more time to explore other aspects of the city.

  • The hours the year I visited were 11am - 8pm during the week and 11am - 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Take cash as not all vendors accept credit cards.

  • The train station serves cities and towns all over France and is an easy 10-minute walk from the old city. When I returned at night I was able to get a taxi.

See also my article on the amazing Marché de Noël in Strasbourg.

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