Visit the heart of Alsace, France

Merry-go-round in Obernai, Alsace.

For many travelers, beautiful Straßbourg is the “go-to” town in the Alsace. One of the most popular or worthwhile events in this city is the December  Weihnachtsmarket, which is the oldest Christmas Market in France. Taking place in the main square of Straßbourg, the streets are lined with scents and sites that are a feast for the eyes.

However, Alsace also offers opportunities to venture off track for adventures and misadventures. Here are three great destination towns in the Alsace: Obernai, Rosheim and Soufflenheim.


The first time I visited Obernai in the Alsace, I remember hearing church bells as we approached this tiny village. Visiting several times since, the precious town looks like it stepped out of “Beauty and the Beast.” The information center, located right off the main square, makes it very easy to find an English map and find yourself around.

Every Thursday from 8 a.m to noon on the main square in Obernai, there is an amazing farmer’s and flea market and it goes on from street to street to street. You will find the freshest of meats, cheese, tea, herbs, fish, clothes, shoes, linens, and an occasional mattress stand. It’s random, but don’t knock it! Someone may need a mattress.

Dotted with several delectable eateries, it will be a difficult decision where to dine in Obernai. Whether you give a try to Les Petites Casseroles, a unique restaurant where your dish is served in small casserole dishes and the combination are mouth-watering with cheese, bacon and pasta, or the Winston Restaurant Le Freiburg, you will not be disappointed.


In the medieval town of Rosheim, be sure to see the double Roman walls and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. This awe-inspiring cathedral is the anchor for this town and covers a few city blocks.

The small medieval town of Rosheim and its vineyard-covered hills.

We were lucky for this recent visit as there was an art exhibit of magnificent paintings on display in the church. Built in the 12th Century and surviving the French Revolution, this church is considered the gem of churches in the Alsace. After touring the church, we popped in at the bakery across the street.


Known for its ceramic pottery, Soufflenheim is the “Land of the Haguenau Forest and Land of Potters.” This town is also known for its active tourism, hiking, biking and especially golfing.

Soufflenheim is also famous for hosting an annual Festival of Pottery, which features local potters, workshops, music and French culinary specialties prepared on-site.

Getting there

Visiting all three villages can often be done as a day trip. A drive to Obernai is under 2 hours southwest of Stuttgart, just over 2 hours south of Kaiserslautern and approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes south of Wiesbaden. You can also check the DB Bahn website for train information.

Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart. She is a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.

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