Think of it as your Grenoble bucket list, your ultimate tick list of things that will be available to you in the Capital of the Alps and things you absolutely must do, no excuses, no exceptions. Grenoble is an immensely varied city and it is its many facets that make it the whole it is, and a little bit of everything really does make this one go round.
Storm the Bastille
As ever, don’t actually ‘storm’ the Bastille, but do make a point of making the journey to Grenoble’s most famous attraction and giving yourself plenty of time in the city’s playground. Grenoble’s Bastille is its major highlight, an absolute beaut of a spot that offers some of the most joyful views we’ve come across in our many years of seeking out joyful views. If you only do one thing in Grenoble, this must be it.
Beauty in Bubbles
Actually, make that a ‘must do’ of two. The best way to get to the Bastille is via Les Bulles (the Bubbles), the gorgeous cable cars that make their way from the centre of town to the city’s most iconic spot. The views from this particularly stunning feat of engineering are almost as beautiful as those at the top. You can walk up to the Bastille if yo
u are so inclined, but we recommend making the most of the cable car. You won’t regret it.
Visit In Your Pocket’s Dream
A renovated convent that is now home to one of the region’s most influential publishers, the Saint Cecile Chapel is the sort of place that we thought could only exist in our literature-filled dreams. Glénat Editions has turned this long-neglected spot into a real celebration of art, history, culture and the written word.
Explore Grenoble’s storied past
Much like the rest of France, Grenoble has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the last three centuries. The French Revolution kicked things off, while World War II saw hardened resistance followed by dreadful deportations. The history of Grenoble and the Isère region is explored in a number of excellent museums, namely the Museum of Resistance and Deportation and the Musée Dauphinois.
Stroll the park of a pioneer
Paul Mistral was mayor of Grenoble until his tragic death in the early 1930s, and it is only fair that the main park in town takes his name. The Paul Mistral Park is the best place for an early morning stroll in Grenoble, and pay special attention to the Perrot Tower, the first reinforced concrete tower in Europe.
Hit the pistes
Grenoble is famous for a whole heap of things, but its status as the so-called ‘Capital of the Alps’ should give you a good idea as to its most popular adrenaline-centric activity. This is ski country, with masses of resorts found just a short distance from the city. We’ve got plenty of recommendations, but it is difficult to look past the all-round excellence of Alpe du Grand Serre.
Walk the path of literary royalty
Grenoble is the city of Stendhal (Marie-Henry Beyle to his mum), one of the 19th century France’s most beloved writers. Stendhal was born here way back in 1783 and went on to help define the Realism genre, doing so with a magnificent sideburns/chinstrap combo to boot. The Stendhal Museum is an absolute must for book lovers of all kinds.
Live like actual royalty
For an afternoon, at least. Just a short drive from Grenoble is the Sassenage Chateau, an opulent exercise in wealth and high society. The 17th century mansion is one of the great architectural achievements of era, no small feat when you consider the trends of the time, and today it offers a fascinating window into the lives of the super-rich back in the day.
Enjoy local art in a 13th century charmer
The Museum of the Former Bishopric is another excellent museum in Grenoble, and its main exhibition covers the history of the wider Isère region. For us the highlight is the temporary exhibitions though, showcases of local artists in quite stunning surroundings. The setting is a two thumbs up sort of place too.
Gastronomy, gastronomy, gastronomy
Nobody does fine dining like the French, nobody. This is a country for people who take food very seriously, and Grenoble is no different. Gastronomy geeks have plenty of options in the city, with Le Fantin Latour, L’Exception and L’Amèlyss at the top of the pile. Bring plenty of money and be prepared to be amazed.