If there is a place in Europe that is a symbol of Christmas… undoubtedly it is Alsace! The magic of the holiday comes alive in the picturesque villages of the area. Traveling through them was more than exciting and I can’t wait to show them to you! And the choice which one to show you first, is really very difficult… I look at the photos, cross the streets, squares, markets, emotions are still raging and… I stop at… Obernai! It certainly pales in front of the larger Colmar and Strasbourg, but… compared to the expectations and the resulting emotions… I rank it around first places! So… Christmas in Alsace starts with the unpretentious town of Obernai!
Where is located Obernai ?
Obernai is less than 30 km from Strasbourg. Many tourists prefer it as a starting point for tours around the area, especially for wine tourism visits. Alsace Wine Road is another thing the region is known for around the world. But, now we’re aiming for a Christmas mood! Easily reached by car. There are several parking lots, but the most convenient is Parking Remparts – free and quite large. But in spite of its size, before Christmas was overflowing… We had to go around it 4-5 times until we got someone to go out and slip in its place…
Through the fortress walls
We leave the car and head to the center! To do this, pass through a well preserved fortress wall… The traditional town market, which has been held every Thursday morning since 1301, has stretched almost its entire length (its location is usually at the central square, but it moves here during the Christmas market). There was no way it could capture our interest and we missed it quickly, craving a cup of hot Alsatian chocolate…
First Christmas Market
As we passed behind the medieval walls we found ourselves on a small square (Place André Neher) and its Christmas market. Much smaller than the central one, but just as interesting. There are 10 cottages offering various local things – from salami to interesting carvings. This is also the first opportunity to get your typical Мulled wine.
The beautiful Rue du Marché
If we have to choose the most beautiful Christmas street in Alsace … it will be difficult for us to show up one… But Rue du Marché in Obernai will certainly be in the rankings! The typical colorful houses with wooden struts accompany us all the way to the heart of the city. But during this period of the year, each is complemented by a fabulous Christmas decoration… Teddy bears, Christmas reindeer, garlands, wreaths, asterisks and all kinds of beautiful ornaments hang from the sills and walls of houses… Everything is so Christmas and it fills you with an incredible mood! The shops and establishments are in tune with everything else and contribute to the overall Christmas magic.
The best Christmas decoration in Obernai
Undoubtedly, the decoration of the Meyer’s & Moine shop offering local wines captivated us most. Big white bears greet you at the entrance, complemented by Christmas twigs, red ribbons and countless light bulbs. And the beautifully painted windows are further decorated with plush toys on wooden shutters and a whole bunch of interesting things!
The central square – Place du Marché
Here we are in the central square – Place du Marché! A true Christmas tale with an Alsatian accent… Authentic houses surround it, and above them stands the clock tower (bell tower), with its impressive for the town 60 m height. The Christmas market is a little bit more peaceful than in other places. You can walk around the stalls here carelessly. And they, which of which more interesting! Have It Anything You Want – Christmas Decorations, Gift Ideas, Alsatian Products, Delicatessen, Brezel, Local Cuisine (I will tell you more about it in the next posts) and of course – mulled wine with cinnamon sticks and spices… Also hot chocolate flavored with orange! Both were great.
And from here I will mention you about the cups… each town has its own Christmas cups that are sold additionally. The Mulled wine costs around € 2.50-3.00 and a plastic cup is paid for another € 1.00 – 1.50. By drinking it, you can return the cup and get your money back… Or keep it as a nice souvenir…
And the Christmas chalets have surrounded one of the symbols of the city to such an extent that it is even difficult to see, despite its Christmas decoration – the St. Odile Fountain – named after the patron saint of Alsace, dating from 1904.
The Secret Street – Cour des Artisans
The other main street is Rue du Général Gouraud and should not be missed. It houses the back entrance of one of the most popular Alsatian souvenir shops – Les Produits d’Alsace. And when walking on its sidewalks, it is very difficult to resist the tempting desserts displayed on the windows of many local pastry shops…
It also has a secret corner – Cour des Artisans, where you can sneak in and get away from the people in the square in seconds… The downed straight is so cute, thanks to the toy store there and the little cafe at the end of it… The former have pulled out some great toys and a Christmas train, which brings you back to childhood, and the latter have decorated a very creative Christmas tree…
The first steps in Alsace…
Obernai fascinates us… mostly with its ease! It certainly remains in the shadow of the big cities in the area and this is the reason why there are not so many crowds of tourists… And so you can fully enjoy it and feel the Alsatian spirit. Obligatory with a glass of mulled wine from cheerful local vendors…
P.S. I forgot to share with you the slogan of the Obernai Christmas Market: “Rêvez Noël à Obernai” or in translation… „Dream about Christmas in Obernai“ !
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