The view of Place de l'Hôtel de Ville with the Lion fountain and the historic town hall.

Visiting Molsheim in Alsace, France

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis6 Comments

History, charm, wine and Bugatti

There’s so much to enjoy about the Alsace region in France, there are the picturesque places of Colmar and Strasbourg with their beautiful half-timbered buildings.
The view of Place de l'Hôtel de Ville with the Lion fountain and the historic town hall.
Molsheim old town square

The lush rolling vineyards laid out across the countryside like a patchwork quilt. And of course, a Tarte-flambé washed down with a crisp glass of Pinot Gris.

However, for us visiting the lesser known towns and villages is also what appeals, so, our visit to Molsheim was a wonderful find. Yay, we’re back on a road trip, oh, and yes Gary did try and gloss over the fact that there was a Bugatti museum here.

Quick Links

A peddle car model of a type 38 Bugatti that now hangs as a shop sign.
A french blue Bugatti car shop sign
As we strolled around the quaint, peaceful streets of Molsheim on a Sunday afternoon, we really felt like we’d found a serene little town, where even the locals wanted to keep it to themselves.
A roadside view of an Alsace Auberge - Vigneronne Winschnutzer. The scene is a mix of French & German cultures that typify the Alsace region.
Auberge Vigneronne Winschnutzer

Families enjoying their Sunday lunches laid out across wooden trestle tables, elderly residents soaking up the tranquillity of their rose gardens and native storks soaring overhead. We were going to enjoy this.

A helpful guide

If like us, you love visiting different regions of France then this Michelin guide will definitely assist in your planning.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our eastern France road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Alsace Wine Route

Molsheim is located on the northern end of the Alsace wine route in France, and most definitely worthy of more than a passing glance. We were so pleased this was our first stopover on our “Lakes and Lederhosen Revival” road trip. 
A large oak wine barrel in front of a grand building. The writing on the oak barrel states 'demand the wines of Molsheim' - in French of course.

Ask for the wines of Molsheim

We parked up for the day and headed towards the town, passing by a little river that had found a path leading away from the larger River Bruche.

Beyond this was Molsheim’s huge 17th-century former Jesuit church.  This was so pleasant already.

Fancy an Alsace wine route road trip?

Take a look at our Touring Memories of Alsace which we embarked upon in 2012
A path alongside an offshoot of the River Bruche on a raised wooden walkway.
Strolling by the river
A street view looking onto the church 'Sainte-Trinité-et-Saint-Georges.'

Go with the flow

Just letting the streets guide us along, we meandered through all the little side lanes admiring the historical buildings and how they have stood the test of time. 
Looking down a cobbled lane of half-timbered houses typical of the region.
Empty lanes of Molsheim
A cobbled lane in Molsheim, each house a different colour with red tiled roofs.
Quaint side streets in Molsheim
With Molsheim having its borders so close to Germany it has swapped between both countries on a few occasions, the last time under German control was between 1940 and 1944. 
A half-timber building, typical of Alsatian architecture painted in a dusky orange colour.
Typical Alsatian architecture
It’s incredible the number of homes throughout the old town that has survived with the intricate traditional Alsatian style architecture still intact and painted in such charming colours.

Off to the old town square

The old town square within Molsheim is magnificent, your eyes are immediately drawn to the Renaissance La Metzig building. It is so attractive with its stepped roof-line, gables and double fronted staircase. 

Tables and chairs under parsols outside La Metzig restaurant and bar in the
La Metzig
It was constructed in 1525 and was originally built as a butcher’s shop, it’s now home to a restaurant.
A shot of the Metzig, a 16th centruy building in the centre of Molsheim, adorned with flowers.
La Metzig built in 1525 as a meeting hall & the town's butchers shops
Just in front of the La Metzig is the Lion Fountain and quite an attraction with the local children. 
Looking down Place de l'Hôtel de Ville with a row of three storey Alsace building brightly decorated, with the Lion fountain and carousel in the centre of the town square.
Molsheim old town square with the Lion fountain
A short hop within the same square and you’re at the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall).  I’m not too sure if any French town, large or small is complete without one. Molsheim’s Hôtel de Ville is very impressive and kept immaculately, I loved the colours.
The town hall of Molsheim under blue skies.
The Hôtel de Ville

One not to miss

A couple of years ago when Gary and I set off on a road trip to Croatia, we stopped overnight in Obernai. This is another beautiful town just south of Molsheim and also on the Alsace Wine Route. 

To the tower

Enjoying the afternoon sunshine, we stroll further on to the medieval Porte des Forgerons (Blacksmiths Tower), which was once part of the ancient city walls. Molsheim is extremely easy to wander around and a town that the local residents appear to take pride in.
The Porte des Forgerons, a stone tower that was part once of the city walls.
Porte des Forgerons
The historical tower, Porte des Forgerons, at dusk.
Porte des Forgerons at dusk
On the gate is a historical plaque dedicated to the 3rd Infantry Division who liberated Molsheim on 26th November 1944. 

Did someone say Bugatti?

Well, you knew it was coming, we couldn’t visit Molsheim and skip the Bugatti museum. Although, in this museum, you get two for the price of one. As your entrance fee of only €4 (in 2019), also gives you access to the former monastery of La Chartreuse.
The outside of the Bugatti museum and La Chartreuse monastery from across the street.
Entrance to the Bugatti museum and La Chartreuse monastery

When Ettore Bugatti set up his automobile company in 1909, Molsheim was part of Germany, and a country very much renowned for its car industry. Molsheim has switched back forth three times since then.

I must say that even if you’re not a car lover, there’s no escaping the fact that the Bugatti certainly has elegance and style.

A full size Bugatti Stelvio in the basement of the Bugatti museum.
A Bugatti Stelvio (type 57c)
A display inside the Bugatti museum of a type 45 engine infron of an image of Ettore Bugatti.
Bugatti type 45 engine
As you stroll into the small museum, you are greeted with the roar of a Bugatti engine. Lovely historic photos and memorabilia tell the historical story of the life of Bugatti, from its racing cars, road cars and also its aviation period.

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover some of these enchanting places yourself. Strasbourg is your nearest airport.  Search for your flights in one easy place with Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Discover more of France on a road trip like us, Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

Or alternatively, jump on Le Shuttle and tour through France under your own steam.

Former Monastery

Just beyond another door in the same museum, you enter the former La Chartreuse monastery. This was such a lovely surprise. The monastery had undergone some tasteful renovations and lots of TLC.
You are looking down the corridor of the cloisters within La Chartreuse monastery.
A cloister within La Chartreuse
La Chartreuse was used as a monastery during 1598 and 1792; however, it was largely destroyed during the French Revolution.
Raised beds of herbs inside the La Chartreuse monastery with a statue of the Virgin Mary looking over the garden.
The Herb garden
The fruit garden courtyard of La Chartreuse monastery.
The Fruit garden
A bumper herb garden in raised beds had been carefully planted out. The courtyards were full of flowers, and the rooms and workshops that were once used by the monks for day to day living had been turned into a museum.

All in all

Molsheim was a delightful surprise, full of character and colour and a delight to visit.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Molsheim - why not check it out?

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

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Inspired to visit Molsheim?

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    1. Thanks Kathryn, yes it’s a picturesque region, Obernai is another lovely town nearby.

  1. Looks like a great place to explore some quieter villages. You images are lovely and there’s hardly any people in them!

    1. Thanks Paul, yes it was really peaceful. In some towns and villages in France I think that’s a normal Sunday afternoon.

  2. Headed through this region on our grand European road trip this summer – we’re so excited! Have never been to Alsace and now have Molsheim on our list to meander through. Bugatti should be a bonus for my husband as well! Thanks kindly for sharing the local charm of this little French village. #FarawayFiles

    1. Have a great time, I love this region with the mixture of French and German. The Bugatti museum is fairly small but its interesting, you also get access to the monastery.

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