Dream about Christmas at the Obernai Christmas Market

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With a population of 11,000 inhabitants, the medieval town of Obernai is the second most visited town in the département of Bas-Rhin after Strasbourg which is distant of 25 km. Lying on the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mountains, Obernai is surrounded by reputed vineyards that are crossed by the scenic Alsace Wine Route. The Obernai Christmas market is enchanting with lights and decorations, gastronomic experience and exciting festive events.


Obernai Christmas Market

Obernai Christmas Market - Crédit photo Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

The chalets of the Christmas market are set up on the Place du Marché in the town centre. The Christmas festivities are themed under the slogan “Dream about Christmas in Obernai” (Rêvez Noël à Obernai).

The Obernai Christmas Market is reputed for its gastronomic touch. Some of the best local produce can be found on the market located on the place du marché: mulled wine (vin chaud), Christmas beer (bière de Noël), Alsatian foie gras, Pretzels, choucroute, kugelhopfs, manneles, Alsace wines and all the ingredients necessary for the preparation of bredeles (cinnamon sticks and spices, honey…).

Mulled wine at Obernai Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Mulled wine at Obernai Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Some of the 30 chalets of the market are dedicated to traditional crafts: ornaments, decorative items, Advent wreaths and gift ideas for Christmas.

In 2017, the guest of honour of the Obernai Christmas market is the Provençal town of La Seyne-sur-Mer. You will find at the market some Provençal produce and items (such as santons). 

In 2017, Obernai’s Christmas market takes place from the 25 November to the 5 January 2018 (Closed on Christmas Day).

Obernai Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

The enchanting streets’ illuminations in Obernai are made up of two colours: white and green. White represents the light of Christmas and green the colour of evergreen trees. A stroll in the narrow streets of the old town at night time are a treat for the eyes. Most of the historic monuments and buildings are lit up with great care during  Advent.

Bredele workshop © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Bredele workshop © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Many Christmas events are organised during Advent 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 in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), you will discover an authentic Christmas market, an exhibition on Nativity scenes and the world’s biggest Advent Calendar-House (the town-hall).

Bredeles © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Bredeles © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai is a good base to explore other popular Christmas markets in Alsace and beyond: ColmarSélestat and Strasbourg.


About Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Part of the prosperous Decapolis in the Middle Ages, Obernai includes some beautiful examples of restored medieval and Renaissance houses, many of them half-timbered, a singular Renaissance well of the Six Buckets (1579), the Kappelturm Belfry, the Town-Hall, the Corn Exchange Market (1554) and the Gothic church of Saint Pierre et Paul with its twin spires (16th c).  All these monuments are enhanced by beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.

Find out more about Obernai.

Obernai by Night copyright Philippe Clabots

Obernai by Night © Philippe Clabots


How to get to Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

By train

The railway station of Obernai is conveniently situated on the Strasbourg-Obernai-Barr-Sélestat line. Strasbourg train station (30km) 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.


English-French Vocabulary

Kappellturm, Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

Kappellturm, Obernai at Christmas © Office de Tourisme d’Obernai

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

  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • castle = château (m)
  • chalet = châlet (m)
  • Christmas = Noël
  • Christmas Eve = veille de Noël (f) / réveillon (m)
  • Christmas lighting = illuminations de Noël (f,p)
  • 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)

French Moments would like to thank the Tourist Office of Obernai and Philippe Clabots for giving us the opportunity to share their photos on this page.

Find out more about Advent and the Christmas season in Obernai in 2014: http://www.tourisme-obernai.fr

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About 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. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French 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.

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