L’Ecomusée d’Alsace is a museum entirely dedicated to the Alsatian culture. Boring? On the contrary, the ecomuseum is extremely lively. You would think you were in a big village, walking through small streets, stopping at craftsmen and shopkeepers (blacksmith, carpenter, barber,…) and crossing some farm animals. This is the vocation of this ecomuseum: today, theUgersheim ecomuseum is the largest living open-air museum in France. It was designed and organized like an Alsatian village of the early 20th century. It is a visit that will please both adults and children, and can therefore easily be done with the whole family.
What is an ecomuseum?
An eco-museum is a museum that highlights the culture and heritage of a given geographical area, such as traditional dwellings, know-how, trades, popular traditions, etc.
In this case, the Ungersheim Ecomuseum is dedicated to the culture and heritage of Alsace.
Where is the Ecomuseum of Alsace ?
The origins of the Ecomuseum of Alsace
It all began in the 1970s, when a group of young volunteers from the association “Maisons paysannes d’Alsace” undertook to preserve several dozen traditional Alsatian houses, which were no longer suitable for their owners, who were looking for more comfort for example. They first decided to restore these houses in their respective communes, while integrating these needs of comfort in their work of safeguarding and restoration. In 1980, realizing that it was impossible to keep them all on site, they began a work of deconstruction, to rebuild them in a conservatory of the Alsatian house, on a wasteland. The first house was set up in 1980 and this is how the ecomuseum was born, officially inaugurated in 1984.
Since then, Alsatians have made numerous donations of old objects to furnish their homes and today, the ecomuseum has a superb collection of furniture, agricultural equipment and old objects. Since 2014, the ecomuseum has been participating in reflections on the major issues of the future in terms of habitat, biodiversity, agriculture and “living together.”
A visit for the whole family
Composed of more than 70 buildings from all over Alsace (houses, farms, chapels, schools…) spread out in a beautiful natural area on the museum site, the ecomuseum gives a good overview of Alsatian architecture. The buildings are therefore real Alsatian houses that have been moved to the ecomuseum in order to save them. And yes, half-timbered houses do move: the beams are separated and numbered so that they can be reassembled correctly. Incredible, isn’t it? They are all superb and allow you to discover the Alsatian architecture.
In the village there are workshops of active craftsmen, such as the potter or the blacksmith, whose know-how can be admired. Other houses are brought to life by the presence of guide-animators or volunteers. In the houses, you will discover small exhibitions on Alsatian culture, popular traditions, and the trades of the past or animations.
For example, you can attend a lesson in an Alsatian school from the 1930s, watch a blacksmith work, learn about plants and flowers or beehives, bake bread, feed farm animals, listen to stories, take a violin-making workshop or taste dishes from the past. It is also possible to go for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, to take a boat ride or a tractor ride. The program of exhibitions and animations is very varied and changes regularly, so do not hesitate to return again and again.
Many volunteers contribute to make theEcomuseum of Alsace a living place: congratulations to them, for me this museum is a real favorite!
How long does it take to visit the Alsace Ecomuseum?
The museum is large and there are many animations, I advise you to plan at least half a day of your time… but you can also easily pass by the dayYou will be able to eat at the bakery, the restaurant or by using the picnic areas provided.
Christmas at the Ecomuseum of Alsace
TheEcomuseum of Alsace is open in December for the Christmas season. The village of the ecomuseum is then entirely decorated and many animations are proposed. It’s simple, you’ll always find them, no matter what time you come (except for lunch)!
For example, I was able to attend a workshop to make bredalas (Alsatian Christmas cakes), to create Christmas tree decorations out of recycled materials or to make gingerbread. I also had the opportunity to discuss with a potter, to stroke donkeys, to see an exhibition on the history of Christmas trees… This is only a sample, I could also have decided to go for a ride in a horse-drawn cart, to listen to the story of the Alsatian Christmas characters or to a Christmas tale… There is really a lot to do, for adults as well as for children (having seen the reactions of the latter around me, they seemed to like it a lot too!)
- Superb reconstruction of the village: it is very pleasant to walk around
- Discover the Alsatian culture while having fun
- Many quality animations proposed: impossible to get bored!
- Lots of storks on the roofs!
- Partner of the Pass Alsace
I liked less
- Be careful in case of rain: you can still run from one building to another but it’s not the same charm!
My photos of the Ecomuseum of Alsace
Rates and tickets
For Pass Alsace holders, the entrance is free!
Days and hours of operation
The Ecomuseum of Alsace is not open all year round. You will find here the opening days and hours of the Ecomuseum of Alsace.
The animations, events and traditional festivals are extremely numerous. There is entertainment throughout the day, except at lunchtime. You can consult here theagenda of the ecomuseum.
The address is as follows: Chemin du Grosswald, 68190 Ungersheim. You have to count:
- 16 km from Mulhouse (about 20 minutes)
- 35 km from Colmar (about 35 minutes)
- 112 km from Strasbourg (about 1h20)
By public transport
For more information, visit the Ecomuseum website.
You can also view your route directly on Vialsace.
The Ecomuseum of Alsace has a bakery (whose bread is made on the spot), a restaurant and a brasserie whose prices are reasonable. I haven’t tested them. In addition, many picnic tables are available in nice locations. Ideal for a pleasant break!