Why we dreamt about the Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
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Last Updated: 18 November 2023

Ideally situated in the foothills of the Vosges, along the scenic Alsace Wine Route lies historic Obernai. As Christmas approaches, the wine town hosts one of the most enchanting Christmas markets. The Obernai Christmas Market has become over the years a not-to-be-missed event in Alsace. With lights and decorations, gastronomic experience and exciting festive events… there is much to see in Obernai. We invite you to dream about Christmas in Obernai!



Why did we want to see the Obernai Christmas Market?

From the start of the great season of Advent, the chalets of the Obernai Christmas Market take centre stage in the old town.

The Christmas festivities in Obernai are themed under the slogan “Dream about Christmas in Obernai” (in French: “Rêvez Noël à Obernai).

The Obernai Christmas Market is reputed for its gastronomic touch. Therefore it is known as a Gastronomic and Craftsmanship Christmas Market (marché de Noël de la Gastronomie et de l’Artisanat).

Then, in early December last year we reached Obernai as the 7th stage of our Christmas Trip in Alsace-Lorraine.

After visiting Nancy, Metz, Wissembourg, Haguenau, Saverne and Strasbourg, we were really excited about discovering Obernai.

Christmas Trip 2018 © French Moments
The 10 stages of our Christmas trip in Alsace-Lorraine © French Moments

Are you ready for an enchanting discovery of the Christmas season in Obernai?

Let’s enter the fairy-tale village…

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
Entering the Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments


A magnificent hotel in a Renaissance mansion!

During our stay, we were accommodated at the Hôtel du Gouverneur***, situated 13 rue de Sélestat in Obernai.

You can’t find a better central place to explore the old town and the Christmas market!

The hotel’s mansion was built upon the medieval ramparts and is at walking distance from the free carpark “Remparts”. The little Christmas market of Place André Neher is just around the corner!

The hotel occupies a historic monument with a magnificent inner courtyard and beautifully decorated rooms.

Book your room at Hôtel du Gouverneur in Obernai here…



Let’s explore the Obernai Christmas Market

Next to the hotel, on Place André Neher, is a little Christmas market with about 10 chalets.

But the main market is the one on the Place du Marché.

Place du Marché, Obernai’s market place!

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments

The market place is the focal point for the Christmas season in Obernai. This is a historic place. The weekly market has been taken place since 1301!

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
A chalet selling Christmas decorations in Obernai © French Moments

But tonight the square welcomes the most beautiful Christmas market, a cluster of 15 wooden chalets. Some are dedicated to traditional crafts: ornaments, decorative items, Advent wreaths and gift ideas for Christmas.

Others offer gourmet and Alsatian delicacies: mulled wine (vin chaud), Christmas beer (bière de Noël), Alsatian foie gras, Pretzels, sauerkraut, kugelhopfs, manneles, Alsace wines. And all the ingredients necessary for the preparation of bredeles (cinnamon sticks and spices, honey…).

The St. Odile Fountain

At the centre of the square, the St. Odile fountain dates back to 1904 and pays tribute to the Patron saint of Alsace. The fountain is nicely decorated for Christmas.

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The St. Odile fountain, Obernai © French Moments

The great Christmas tree

The grand illuminated Christmas tree takes centre stage.

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The Christmas tree on the market square of Obernai © French Moments

At its foot is a little Alsatian village:

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The Alsatian village at the foot of the fir tree © French Moments

At night, there is a nice mysterious ambiance that reminds us of a forest…

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The mysterious atmosphere in Obernai © French Moments

At the foot of the Obernai belfry

The market extends further beyond the market place. At the foot of the belfry and in front of the Tourist Office, ten chalets offer local produce: traditional distillery, olives and tapenades, chocolates and waffles, flammkuchen (tartes flambées), foie gras and poultry, Christmas cookies (bredeles).

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The Obernai Christmas Market at the foot of the belfry © French Moments

Without forgetting mulled wine made in Obernai and local wines from the Corporation of the Obernai’s Winemakers. The Obernai mulled wine is made from white wine and spices. It’s a must for the Christmas market’s visitors!

Notice the Kapellturm. This emblematic tower served as a watchtower and as the bell tower of a chapel which has since disappeared. During Advent, the 60 metre-tall tower is decorated with a special lighting from blue to orange.

Next to it stands the Town-Hall with its orangey façade.

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The Obernai Town-Hall and the belfry © French Moments

Place de l’Étoile, a square to the delight of the children

Another place of interest is the place de l’Étoile. Dedicated to the children, it features a merry-go-round, a little train and the Santa’s chalet.

Santa‘s chalet welcomes his desk. Have peek through the window…

The square is really beautifully lit up at night time:



A Christmas stroll in the streets of Obernai

Christmas in Obernai © French Moments
Christmas decorations in rue du Marché, Obernai © French Moments

The enchanting streets’ illuminations in Obernai are conducive to enchanting dreams! A stroll in the narrow streets of the old town at night time are indeed a treat for the eyes. Most of the historic monuments and buildings are lit up with great care during  Advent.

Christmas in Obernai © French Moments
Christmas decoration on the façade of a house in Obernai, Alsace © French Moments

Find your way to rue du Marché and rue du Général Gouraud for the most beautiful Christmas lights.

Other narrow streets and courtyards are also worth exploring, such as the narrow streets of rue du Canon and ruelle des Juifs, and Cour des Artisans.



The Nativity Scenes exhibition

During our visit to the church of Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, we discovered a fantastic exhibition of Nativity scenes. The collection displayed in 2018 belongs to the Offenburg Krippenfreunde in the Black Forest (Germany). Here’s a selection of my favourite:



Events in Obernai during the Holiday season

Bredele workshop © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai
Bredele workshop © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

During the season of Advent and up to Epiphany, Obernai organises a number of events in addition to the Christmas market:

Concerts, degustations, historic tours of the town, Christmas decoration workshops for children and Christmas cooking workshop for all public.

Excursions by coach are organised to Germany for the discovery of Gengenbach, Obernai’s twin town. In this town nestled in the Black Forest, you will discover:

  • an authentic Christmas market, 
  • an exhibition on Nativity scenes, and
  • the world’s biggest Advent Calendar-House (on the façade of the town-hall).


What to see in Obernai

Part of the prosperous Decapolis in the Middle Ages, Obernai includes:

  • some beautiful examples of restored half-timbered Renaissance houses,
  • the singular Well of the Six Buckets (1579) from the Renaissance era,
  • the Kappelturm Belfry,
  • the Town-Hall with its elegant balustrade,
  • the Corn Exchange Market (1554), and
  • the Neo-Gothic church of Saint-Pierre-et-Paul with its twin spires.

All these monuments are enhanced by beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.


Obernai Christmas Market: English-French Vocabulary

Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments
The enchanting Christmas market of Obernai in Alsace © French Moments

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • castle = château (m)
  • chalet = châlet (m)
  • Christmas market = marché de Noël (m)
  • Christmas Tree = sapin de Noël (m), arbre de Noël (m)
  • church = église (f)
  • Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
  • half-timbered house = maison à colombages (f)
  • holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
  • ice-skating rink = patinoire (f)
  • merry-go-round = carrousel (m)
  • mulled wine = vin chaud (m)
  • Santa = Père Noël (m)
  • square = place (f)
  • street = rue (f)


Practical info about the Obernai Christmas Market

  • The Obernai Christmas Market is opened from 23rd November to 31st December 2019.
  • Open from Monday to Thursday 10am-7pm, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am-8pm. (different times apply on 24 and 31 December, closed on Christmas Day)

Find out more about the Holiday Season in Obernai on the official website of Christmas in Obernai. You’ll find all the opening dates and hours for the Christmas markets and events.

Christmas in Obernai © French Moments
In the streets of Obernai at Christmas time © French Moments

Discover Christmas in Obernai and Alsace:

Book your stay in Obernai!

My advice: don’t wait too long before booking your accommodation in Obernai, particularly at Christmas time!

The Obernai Christmas Market draws a lot of people and availabilities in hotels/short-rentals tend to go very quickly.

To book your accommodation in Obernai, click on this affiliate link which will redirect you to our partner booking.com… or use the interactive map below:


How to get to Obernai

By train

The railway station of Obernai is conveniently situated on the Strasbourg-Obernai-Barr-Sélestat line. Strasbourg train station (20 min from Obernai) has train connections to Mulhouse, Frankfurt, Lyon, Basel and Paris.

By car

Situated along the scenic Alsace Wine Route linking Marlenheim to Thann, Obernai is easily reached from Strasbourg (30 km), Colmar (47km), Freiburg-im-Breisgau (80km), Mulhouse (90km), and Basel (116km) and Nancy (125km). Paris is 460 km from Obernai.

By air

The closest international airport is Strasbourg-Entzheim (25km), which is serviced by national and European airlines.

Make Obernai your base for Christmas!

Situated at only 20 min from Strasbourg by train, the town of Obernai makes a good base for visiting the other Christmas markets in the surroundings: Strasbourg of course but also Sélestat and Colmar.

Inspired? Pin it for later:

Why we dreamt about the Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments


Thank you to the Tourist Office of Obernai for welcoming us during this unforgettable stay in Obernai. This was such a superb opportunity to discover the holiday season in Obernai. This article is the account of my stay and I hope it will encourage you to come and explore this beautiful historic town in Alsace.

Christmas in Paris ebook
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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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