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If you are planning a trip to see the Christmas markets in the Alsace, then this is one place you don’t want to miss. Out of all the Christmas markets I visited in this region, including Strasbourg, Colmar, Ribeauville, Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Obernai, the Obernai Christmas Market was by far my favorite.
Between it being easy to get to from Strasbourg, the lesser-known aspect of it with fewer crowds, and the charm of this village, I cannot recommend the Christmas market in Obernai enough!
So let me tell you all the details you need to know in order to have an incredible time at the Obernai Christmas Market!
Ultimate Obernai Christmas Market Guide
Located along the Alsace Wine Route only about 30 minutes from Strasbourg, this place is honestly a must-visit for those in search of a slightly lesser-known market for the holidays. It is actually known as the “Foodie Christmas Market” for its tasty treats!
To help you have the best time, this ultimate guide is full of information including the Obernai Christmas Market dates, opening hours, markets to see, what to eat and drink, other things to do in the town, how to get there, where to stay, and more!
Obernai Christmas Market 2023 Dates
The Obernai Marche de Noel 2023 opens on November 24, 2023, and ends on December 31, 2023. It is open every day during that time except on December 25.
Obernai Christmas Market 2023 Hours
You have plenty of time to enjoy the markets, as they are open from the end of November through December. Here are the times the Christmas market is open.
On Monday-Thursday, the market is open from 10 am-7 pm.
Friday-Sunday, the hours are 10 am-8 pm.
On the opening day of the market, November 24, 2023, the market is from 4 pm until 8 pm. On December 24 and 31, the markets are open from 10 am-4 pm.
Christmas Markets to See in Obernai
While overall you can consider all the markets as the Obernai Christmas Market, there are actually 4 little markets throughout the town to check out while you’re there. Here are each of the markets and what enjoy at each!
1. Place du Marche
Place du Marche
I recommend going to this market first during your visit to the Obernai Christmas Market. The most popular market in Obernai for the holidays, this is the place to try some delicious things such as crepes, pain d’epices, pate a tartiner, jams, chocolates, waffles, and more!
There are also spots to taste local Alsatian wine and other holiday treats. Plus, if you want to go souvenir shopping or want to purchase some holiday decor, this market has quite a few stands selling ornaments and decorations.
There is also a lovely little carousel for the kids to enjoy along with a large Christmas tree on display!
2. Autour du Beffroi
This beautiful bell tower sits right next to the Place du Marche and has its own little market.
A must-try while you’re at this market is the white mulled wine (known as vin chaud blanc). The Corporation des Vignerons has a cauldron of this hot beverage you can enjoy.
This place also has food to eat including tarte flambee, pain d’epices, and cheese.
You can also sip local beverages as you walk around including local wine, beer, and even Eau de Vie, their local alcohol.
I also had the best soup of my life at this market! It was a veggie noodle soup and it was perfectly seasoned, the veggies tasted so fresh, and the noodles weren’t soggy at all!
3. Place de l’Etoile
Place de l’Etoile
This is another great place to find more mulled wine and treats, but it is also known as the children’s market as it has rides for the kids as well as a place to drop off your letters to Santa!
4. Place Neher
Located closest to the train station, I recommend visiting this Marche de Noel last during your time in Obernai. This charming little market has tasty foods like gallettes de pommes de terre (aka potato cakes) with Emmental cheese.
Pair it with a nice mulled wine and it is a great way to wrap up your time in Obernai!
Holiday Events in Obernai
Aside from the delightful markets in Obernai, you definitely want to check out some other events happening during the holiday season.
1. Nativity Exhibition
Church of Saints Peter & Paul
Located at the Church of Saints Peter & Paul is a magnificent display of nativity scenes from around the world, particularly Europe. Each year, it spotlights a region or country.
It is a gorgeous church to begin with, but the nativity sets are so unique and adorable that it is worth stopping inside during your time at the Christmas markets to see them!
The church is open from 9 am-12 pm and 2-6 pm every day (excluding religious services). It is open from 2-6 pm on the Fridays of November 24, and December 8 and 22, 2023.
2. Exposition de Noel
Salle d’Exposition du Beffroi
Located at Place du Beffroi, you can also see the annual Christmas Exposition. It is a new exposition each year, so you can enjoy a quick visit and learn more about the current exhibit.
3. Christmas Concerts
There are Christmas concerts on many weekends during the holiday season at various churches in and around Obernai.
4. Santa’s Mailbox
Mediatheque Municipale- Cour Athic
The Mediatheque in Obernai organizes letter writing to Santa. So bring the kiddos on November 25 from 10-11:30 am or November 29 from 2-3:30 pm to write a letter to Santa and drop it off at Place d’Etoile.
Note that this is in French and a reservation is necessary in advance.
5. Christmas Story Time
Want to listen to Christmas stories in French? Then you can enjoy this event every Tuesday from November 28-December 19 from 5-5:45 pm.
Obernai Christmas Market Map
What to Eat at the Christmas Market in Obernai
Being the “Foodie Market” you know there is a ton of great stuff to try!
- Potato Cakes: Known as gallettes de pommes de terre, you can get these at the Place Neher market topped with cheese and other items.
- Tarte Flambee: This is a flatbread topped with either creme fraiche or fromage blanc, onions, and lardons. It is seriously delicious and is an Alsatian specialty.
- Pain d’Epices: Another Alsatian favorite, this is a gingerbread but is actually in bread form, not in cookie form. It can have dried fruits and nuts inside, but it is known for being spiced with anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more!
- Pate a Tartiner: Love Nutella? This stuff is even better! Plus, at the Christmas markets, you can get these spreads in different flavors including orange and chocolate, pistachio, salted caramel and chocolate, and more!
- Fois Gras & Pate: Yes, you can get Christmas specialties like fois gras and pate here too.
- Soup: Need a toasty pick-me-up to warm up at the markets? Definitely get some tasty soup at a soup stand.
- Bredele: These Alsatian Christmas cookies can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Here, they are usually spiced with holiday spices.
What to Drink at the Christmas Market in Obernai
Going local is the name of the game here. There are all kinds of local beverages to enjoy!
- Vin Chaud: Also known as mulled wine, you can easily find this at the markets in Obernai. The really unique one, however, is the vin chaud blanc from Obernois which is in the cauldron of the Corporation des Vignerons. This can be found at the Beffroi.
- Local Beer: Alsatians are known for their delicious beer as well as their white wines. So check out a local brewery’s chalet at the market and try some beer! You can get it by the bottle or buy some to take home.
- Local Wine: Of course, there are plenty of winemakers with stands at the market too. You can taste wine here, purchase a glass, or you can purchase bottles to take home.
- Eau de Vie: This is a clear fruit brandy that is made locally in the Alsace. It comes in many flavors including pear, raspberry, mirabelle plum, and more.
Other Things to Do in Obernai
While you could certainly just visit as a day trip from Strasbourg and spend most of the day at the markets as we did on our visit, there are other things to do in Obernai too if you plan to stay longer!
- Church of Saints Peter & Paul: Known as the Eglise Saints Pierre et Paul, this church is definitely a great place to visit during the holidays for its holiday choir event as well as the nativity display. However, this church is a beautiful place in its own right and well worth visiting!
- Synagogue d’Obernai: The Obernai Synagogue is also a beautiful place to check out! Built in 1876, it is made of pink sandstone in the neo-Romanesque style.
- Puits a Six Seaux: This was built in 1579 in the Renaissance style. This monument has a circular opening containing 3 columns and supports a canopy decorated with sculptures. There are Biblical inscriptions on it detailing Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
- Beffroi d’Obernai: You’ll likely see this while wandering around Obernai, but this is a lovely Medieval tower to admire while you’re there.
- Medieval Wall: Check out the ramparts of the inner wall of the old town. There are around 20 towers and 4 gates. It is a great place for a walk.
- Mont Sainte-Odile: Climb to the top of Mont Sainte-Odile and visit the former convent at the top! This is about a 20-minute drive to get to the start of the hike.
- Go Wine Tasting in Obernai: Being along the Alsace Wine Route, there are wineries where you can taste local Alsatian wine while here. Check out Robert Blanck Alsace Wines, Vins Weibel Marcel et Fils, and Domaine Albert Seltz while there.
- Explore Other Towns on the Alsace Wine Route: If you have a car, you can explore the other towns on the Alsace Wine Route including Barr, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Guisheim, Colmar, and more!
Where to Stay in Obernai
If you want to spend more time in Obernai, here are some hotels to check out!
Hotel de la Cloche: This charming hotel is a historic monument, with its half-timbered architecture that is famous in the Alsace. While there, enjoy the lovely rooms and tea room.
Hotel la Diligence: Located in the heart of the town, this 4-star hotel has beautiful rooms with views of the village, and you’ll love the terrace and fitness center during your stay.
Le Colombier Obernai: This is also a cute hotel with half-timbered architecture. Enjoy the perks of this hotel like room service and the bar.
Getting to Obernai and Around the City
Getting to Obernai without a car is far easier than other cities like Ribeauville, Riquewihr, and Kaysersberg, which we also visited during our time in the Alsace.
Luckily, this town has a train station, and you can take a direct train from Strasbourg! It takes about 30 minutes to get here from Strasbourg. You can either purchase tickets ahead of time on SNCF or at the train station the morning you plan to go.
Or you could also rent a car from Strasbourg and drive here. This also takes about 30 minutes.
Once you’re in Obernai, it is a fairly walkable city.
When to Visit Obernai For the Christmas Market
Obviously, you want to plan your Christmas market visit for when they are happening, but as this is open almost every day from late November until the end of December, you can visit during the week!
Like many Christmas markets, it is best to visit during the weekdays and avoid weekends, especially weekend evenings.
We visited Obernai during the week when we were there, and there were no crowds at all. It was so refreshing compared to smaller towns that only have weekend markets and get so congested.
Enjoy a pleasant day and evening wandering around the markets here at your leisure if you visit during the week.
And as always, the closer it gets to Christmas, the more crowded it tends to get too. So if you want to avoid crowds, going in late November during the week is best.
Also, you can visit post-Christmas too if you want!
Other Tips For Visiting the Obernai Christmas Market
And to wrap up your ultimate guide to the Obernai Christmas Market, let’s talk about some other tips!
- Toilets: This is always something good to know while exploring the Christmas markets. There are public toilets around the town including at the Ramparts Parking Lot, one at 11 Pl. des Fines Herbes, one near the Tourism Office and Autour du Beffroi, and one near the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
- Parking: If you plan to rent a car and drive, there is also public parking available at the Ramparts Parking Lot, Stadium Parking Lot, Altau Parking Lot, Sainte-Odile Parking Lot, Notre Dame Parking Lot, Capuciniere Parking Lot, Parking des Fines Herbes, and Parking Rue Poincare.
- Learn a Little French: Visiting a smaller town definitely requires a little more effort in French. While you could point and figure out together what you want, it is a little easier for everyone if you can speak a little French. Not a lot, but even a few keywords go a long way. Here is my guide to 17 useful French phrases to know.
- What to Wear: You’ll also want to be comfortable at the markets, and it can be quite cold. So it helps to wear things like gloves, a hat or earmuffs, a scarf, warm socks, and water-resistant boots. Pair that with a warm jacket (like this one from The Northface), jeans, and a sweater and you’ll be good to go!
- Be Sure to Check Out Other Christmas Markets! You’ll love checking out other markets in the Alsace including Strasbourg, Colmar, Kaysersberg, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, and more!
This is the ultimate guide to visiting the Obernai Christmas Market! Would you like to visit?
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