Obernai Alsace – Discover the charming beauty of North-Eastern France
Alsace in France is one of the best regions that the country can offer. You often hear about Colmar, Selestat, Keyserberg, Strasbourg, and other villages, in case you forget, Obernai Alsace is one of the villages that compose the region as well.
Obernai Alsace located in the commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France, the second most visited town after Strasbourg.
It is a few miles away from Mount St. Odile that lies on the eastern slopes of the Vosges hills.
Located at 25 km southwest of Strasbourg, where the small valley of the Ehn river. Obernai Alsace used to bear the name of “Ehenheim” specifically because of the Ehn river.
Obernai is an influential center of wine and beer production, as well as a touristic destination. The historical wine of the city is called the Vin du Pistolet reference to a local legend.
Obernai Alsace as Ville Fleurie, (Flower City) and Sports Events
The Ville (town) of Obernai is listed as Ville Fleurie (Flower City) with 3 stars which is part of the Most Beautiful Detours of France.
The charm of Obernai is built throughout its ramparts, narrow streets, and authentic half-timbered houses. Apart from the beauty and charming allure.
Its pride in its fascinating architectural heritage in its central square like the13th-century belfry, the town hall, Renaissance well, and the Saints-Pierre-et-Paul church of neo-Gothic architecture.
Regarding its Sports Events, Obernai is known for its May Hans’ Nocturne Race (International Triathlon). This 12-kilometer road race and wine trail welcome nearly 2500 participants every year.
In 2006, Obernai Alsace even hosted the start of the 2nd stage of the Tour de France.
Obernai also has a Tennis Club Tournament in the first three weeks of August. The tournament brings together nearly 280 competitors from around the world for nearly 500 matches.
Enfin (finally), Its Equestrian Club Contest in August. It is a showjumping competition that brings together more than 1000 riders in the beautiful setting of Hell’s Park.
Things to do in Obernai Alsace
Obernai is no doubt proud of its magnificent and classy half-timbered houses, wine routes, and its medieval ambiance. On the other hand, the cradle of Sainte-Odile welcomes you for a scenic tour of its streets.
Obernai crossed the epochs by gaining its stripes and quickly becoming an imperial city. It is around 1240 that it obtains its status in the city.
There is a long list if you’re looking for some things to do in the town of Obernai. You can always start by walking through the narrow streets of the old town surrounded by the typical half-timbered houses.
You can also climb to the top of the belfry to see the flowery landscape of Obernai Alsace.
Rambling through the streets, you can see the Romanesque house dating from the year 1240. The town hall, a successful marriage between the remains of an arch building and an extension dating from 1848, and the wheat hall built as a butcher’s shop.
To explore all the richness of the city, you can climb aboard on the tourist train, or, take a walk in the streets of the city.
You will also be able to leave in the encircling nature, and in particular to cross the circuit in the shade of Mont Saint-Odile.
Lastly, the most important feature for all wine lovers. You can also discover the vineyard by the wine trail. You will learn all, from the cultivation of the vines to the harvesting of the grapes until fermentation in the cellars.
Don’t forget to do a tour for Dégustation de Vin (Wine Tasting) to discover more about the winegrowers’ passion and domain.
Landmarks of Obernai to visit
We arrived in Obernai early in the afternoon, since our hotel in the Vosges wasn’t ready yet for our check-in we’ve decided to visit one of the Alsace regions. We parked our car near a Public charging station a few steps away from Place du Marché.
Afterward, we entered into some of the renowned boutiques of the town. There were some pretty shops perfect for souvenir shopping.
Some of the outstanding landmarks that you should give a visit to Obernai Alsace are the Domaine de la Léonardsau (19th century to early 20th century), Truttenhausen abbey (in ruin), Gail Castle (Currently the Freppel High School).
There’s Oberkirch Castle, El Biar Castle, Old six-bucket well, Clocktower, Wheat Market (Halle aux Blés), Romanesque house in the Rue des Pélerins and the Old Synagogue.
Place du Marché
Place du Marché, situated in the center of the old town of Obernai Alsace. Encircled by the old timbered houses with multi-colored roof tiles, the town hall, the Belfry, and the Corn Exchange hall.
In the center of the square, you can also find the statue of Saint Odile (Alsace’s Patron Saint) stands in the middle of the fountain.
Saint Odile Fountain is Obernai’s homage to the illustrious patron saint of Alsace. The fountain was built in 1904 and designed by Alfred Marzolff, to mark the successful completion of work to bring running water to the town (1893)
Built facing the town hall, it shows Saint Odile, with her Abbess cross. The open book and the two eyes recall her miraculous cure from blindness.
The Beffroi or Kappelturm tower is considered an emblematic monument of the town that fulfilled three functions: It was the town’s belfry, a watchtower, and a bell tower for the Chapel of the Virgin.
Built approximately 1285 and demolished in 1873, of which the Gothic chancel remains. Topped with a spire rising to 59.6 meters, the gallery, with its small access towers, was added in 1596.
The bell tower is one of Auburn’s most important attractions, and it is seen by every tourist who came to this glorious town. Located in Market Square, next door to the Town Hall.
The Belfry is visible almost everywhere, You can take a shot of it from different angles and different places of the city.
Hotel de Ville (Town Hall)
Hotel de Ville or Town Hall situated next to the Belfry and in front of the Saint Odile Fountain. The current town hall retains traces of an older structure built on arches (Laube) in which the burghers’ court was held (1370).
In 1848, the building was remodeled and extended in the Neo-Renaissance style. It retains a façade with an oriel window, as well as a handsome, sculpted balcony from 1604. The facades with their painted decorative designs were restored in 1992-1993.
The Six Bucket Well
Strolling Obernai, you might notice a weird well, located near the town hall. This gracious, columned, and canopied, Renaissance wellI is called the Six Bucket Well. Constructed in 1579 in the Renaissance style by a team of craftsmen from Strasbourg.
The well was originally painted. Three columns with Corinthian capitals support an octagonal canopy decorated with sculptures inspired by the New Testament.
Obernai’s well is one of the finest in Alsace, despite a few misadventures, through the centuries, that have required the well to be renovated.
St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church
Continuing the street, where the Six Bucket Well located, you will eventually see the Catholic church of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church.
It was opened in 1872, replaced a Gothic sanctuary (15th century). Which was demolished in 1867 and was built on the site of a Romanesque church, and crypt (dating from the 12th century)
Inside you find remarkable Neo-Gothic décor as well as a symphonic organ by Joseph Merklin (1882).
In the left transept arm, you can see the Holy Sepulchre altar, and the shrine containing the remains of Bishop Freppel of Angers.
There are four 15th century stained-glass windows, attributed to Pierre d’Andlau or his apprentice Thibault de Lyxheim.
I remembered the first timbered house that attracted my eyes when we entered Obernai. It was the Star House located in Etoile Square. Surrounded by many old houses including the ones nearby, (The Ruelle des Juifs) in rue des Pélerins.
The Star Square takes its name from an inn, at number 7, Place de l’étoile. In the east of the square is a splendid townhouse. Its colorful glazed tile is not characterized by Alsace. According to history, it dates from the beginning of the 20th century.
How to reach Obernai Alsace
Reaching the Alsace region might be a struggle for you if you are coming from a neighboring country of France. The best way to reach Obernai is by getting into your first flight or train to Strasbourg, France or if not, you can take one to Paris.
From Paris, you’ll have to take a train to Strasbourg. Then, Strasbourg to Obernai. It will only take you less than an hour to reach Obernai from Strasbourg. And approximately 3 hours from Paris to Obernai.
Meanwhile, if you’re within France, you can take a ride via BlaBlacar. You can also rent a car, or drive your car directly to Obernai. It’ll only take you 20 minutes ride from Strasbourg to Obernai.
Watch our travel vlog, Half day tour in Obernai
Travel Guide to Obernai Alsace