Our Barge, Odysseus

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Say Mulhouse, I Say Mulhouse Thursday, July 8

Mulhouse is a large, sprawling city that was Swiss until 1798 when, overcome with revolutionary fervor, the residents voted to become part of France. It's fortune came from printed cotton fabric and all that went with it. Now it's very industrial and a little gritty but it does have a great collection of museums. Of course there is a Fabric Museum, but also a Train Museum, a Historical Museum, a Firefighters Museum and a recreation of historical life and culture in Alsace at the Eco Museum, but the crown jewel has to be the Musee National de l'Automobile. Beginning in the 1920's, local business tycoons the Schlumpf brothers amassed a collection of over 600 cars covering the entire history of the automobile, beginning with a "steam" car from 1878 up until the present day race cars. The largest group in the collection is a huge number of locally made Bugattis; coupes, limousines and racing cars, with the highlight two Bugatti Royales out of only seven made. They were made for royalty and it certainly look it.
The brothers fortunes took a turn for the worse in the 1960's but they kept collecting cars. After their bankruptcy, the collection was rescued by the state and local governments and opened for display to the public in the 1980's. It is very impressive; too much for one day, even for the most dedicated gear head. Plus it was cool in there.
Click this link for better pictures than I could have ever taken. The Schlumpf Collection Click on the photos/videos section and then "Espace Adventure" for a great slide show.
The weather was still pretty hot. Time to move on to our next adventure, the Grand Canal d'Alsace; the dreaded Rhine.

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