Obernai, an Alsatian delight in France
You can’t help but love it
It may seem mad to some, but our Croatian road trip started from our doorstep in the UK.
One of the adventures for Gary and me on a road trip is discovering places along the way and enjoying the local regions & their differences.
A helpful guide
If like us, you love visiting different regions of France then this Michelin guide will definitely assist in your planning.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our eastern France road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
So, we planned our first stop to be in Alsace. A region we had visited before and had great memories of.
Lovely countryside, good wine & tarte flambée, and as we are so close to the German border there is a hint of Deutschland.
Having visited Strasbourg before we decided to take to the colourful streets of Obernai, and what a fantastic choice it was.
Obernai has a lovely welcoming feel, the moment we strolled into the picturesque town, we couldn’t help smiling.
The half-timbered dwellings one after the other, with fantastic floral displays pouring over the window boxes.
We’d arrived around mid-afternoon and went exploring immediately, this ancient little city was waiting to be discovered.
And where better to start than at the heart of the Old Town, Place du Marché, encircled by some incredible examples of half-timbered buildings.
At one end of the square is the Corn Exchange, built in 1554 and was initially a butcher’s shop, with cattle heads looking down, now a friendly restaurant.
Feast for the eyes
At the other end of Place du Marché is the Neo-Renaissance style Hotel de Ville, which was once the court of justice. All the buildings around here are so well kept and colourful.
Standing proudly next to the Hotel de Ville is the Belfry, a very prominent part of the town as the 60-metre-high tower is all that remains of the Virgin’s Chapel that was built at the end of the 13th-century.
Just outside the Town Hall is St. Odile’s Fountain, built in honour of the Patron Saint of Alsace. Odile, the daughter of the Duke of Alsace, was born in Obernai and became the Patron Saint.
If the water feature of St. Odile’s Fountain wasn’t enough for one town, there is also the Six Buckets Well. Yes, it has six buckets, built in 1579 in Renaissance style it is a striking piece of architecture, and you can’t help but get drawn to it.
Ramparts & Towers
Just beyond the well is the church of St. Peter & Paul, built a stone’s throw outside the cities fortifications.
Obernai was once surrounded by a double wall of fortification and would have been encircled by 20 towers and four gates.
Some of the towers can still be seen today, and the ramparts have now been turned into a walkway for everyone to enjoy.
To get a bird’s eye view of the city venture up to the National Monument, which overlooks Obernai.
From here within the vineyards you get a fantastic aerial outlook, and you can almost see how the city walls would have encased the town.
There are so many attractive buildings and little corners to be explored in Obernai; it doesn’t really matter which route you take.
However, be sure to stroll through Place de l’Etoile (Star Place) where once stood an old Inn (hence the squares name) and even more beautiful half-timbered buildings surrounding the old carousel.
We have so many memories of visiting the Alsace region in the past, but one for us will always be their local wine served in such distinctive glasses.
Once you have enjoyed the local tipple, you’ll remember Alsace, whenever you see these glasses again.
Where we stayed
Our accommodation for the one night in Obernai was at the L'Ecurie. It was a family run B&B, the room we had was lovely and very modern, over two floors.
Although it was on one of the main roads leading into Obernai Old Town, it was very peaceful and just by the ramparts, so very central as well.
Discovered any French towns that you fell in love with instantly, we’d love to know?
Inspired to visit Obernai?
It's a great base to explore the Alsace region, and a great place to return to of an evening an enjoy the local cuisine.
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