Less than an hour drive from Riquewihr or Colmar, heading north towards Strasbourg the monastry of Sainte-Odile is set on the Vosges mountains overlooking the little medieval city of Obernai. Together with a couple of lovely villages as Rosheim and Boersch, this is another place to visit for a different day out, especially during the Advent and Christmas time.

Obernai and a Christmas market
dedicated to Alsatian food specialities

Obernai Marché de Noël
Obernai Marché de Noël

Obernai is a charming little town of 11000 inhabitants located on the Alsace Wine Route some 25 kilometers south west of Strasbourg. The city center of Obernai offers some beautiful traditional Alsatian medieval and Renaissance architecture. The thirty wooden chalets of the  ”Christmas Gastronomy in Alsace” Market invite you in an enchanting setting between scents of gingerbread and mulled wine (vin chaud) scent to fill your baskets of local produce and crafts gifts. Every day from 10:00 to 19:00, Friday and Saturday until 20:00, Sunday opening at 9:00 am, closed on December 25, opening at 14:00 on December 26, closed at 16:00 on December 24 and 31.

Mount Sainte-Odile monastry, the holiest place in Alsace

Overlooking Obernai there is the Mount St Odile (Mont Sainte Odile in French).
Mont Sainte-Odile is a mountain of the Vosges which rises to 764 meters. It is surmounted by an ancient monastery founded by St. Odile: the Abbey Hohenbourg overlooks the plain of Alsace. On a clear day, the view extends to the Black Forest and sometimes to the Swiss Alps.
In all seasons and with all weathers Mount St Odile is a very popular place of pilgrimage and worshipping dedicated to Saint Odile, patron of Alsace.

Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace
Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace in the Winter. It is a magical place.

In December the yard inside the monastry is hosting a small Christmas market with handmade products created by locals.

The village of Rosheim and its roman church worth a visit

Only 7 kilometers from Obernai, the village of Rosheim (5000 inhabitants) and its romanesque church worth a visit. Rosheim is located on the wine route of Alsace. The little he town has a rich past and a unique heritage so that it also named the “the Romanesque City” or “the City of the Rose” in reference to its heraldic emblem.
The Christmas market is held usually on 3 weekends of December before Christmas. From 16:00 to 20:00 on Saturdays and 14:00-19:00 on Sundays.

Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace
Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace.
Every weekend in December.

Rosheim is famous for its church Saints-Pierre-et-Paul was built between 1145 and 1167 in a beautiful romanesque style. Every year during the Advent time there is a beautiful Nativity Scene (crèche) displayed inside the church.

The giant illuminated fir tree at the edge
of the Grendelbruch forest

Some 13 kilometers East of Rosheim, you will find a lonely mountain village of woodcutters: Grendelbruch. Usually there is a Christmas event on the last weekend before Christmas. In 2013 it was on Dec 21-22 with a  concert in the church on Sunday Dec 22 at 17:00. Small Christmas market with a beautiful nativity scene in the church of the village. But the most spectacular is the giant Christmas fir illuminated at the edge of the forest, in the mountain. This Christmas tree is illuminated every evening at sunset from end of November until January 17. Beautiful and mysterious. Out of the beaten path. We love it.

The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch
The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch

Useful links

See the selection of our favorite Christmas events happening every year in Alsace, nearby Germany and Switzerland.

This page is brought to you by Les Remparts de Riquewihr – new luxury holiday apartments created in an old historical winery facing the vineyards in Riquewihr, Alsace. Riquewihr as well as La Vancelle are also a very practical base to visit all Alsace, the Vosges mountains and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.

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