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 we wanted 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, 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.
Are you ready for an enchanting discovery of the Christmas season in Obernai?
Let’s enter the fairy-tale village…
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 a 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.
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!
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!
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.
The great Christmas tree
The grand illuminated Christmas tree takes centre stage.
At its foot is a little Alsatian village:
At night, there is a nice mysterious ambiance that reminds us of a forest…
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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
(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.
Discover Christmas in Obernai and Alsace:
- The traditions and markets of Christmas in Alsace
- Our discovery article on Obernai
- Our article in French about Christmas in Obernai
- The Tourist Office website of Obernai
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
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.
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.
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.
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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. 😊
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