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Grande Dame of the Alps

Grenoble is known to many as the Grande Dame of the Alps. This ancient city has been a great Alpine centre for many years, and the mediaeval streets and houses found in the old parts of town bear ready witness to its longevity. Grenoble is also a city with a vibrant modern side to it, however, and a few days spent here will quickly convince you that there is more to Grenoble than winter sports and history!

Beautiful setting

Grenoble is said to be a city which has a mountain at the end of every street, and certainly, as you walk around the town and take in the views, this appears to be very true. The city lies in a valley of two rivers, the Drac and the Isère, and the valley is completely surrounded by mountains. This makes for some of the most spectacular scenery in France, and also allows easy access to excellent skiing. The best views of the city can be had from the Belvedere, and the easy way to reach this is to take the cable car, which is an experience in itself!

The old quarter

The old quarter of Grenoble is both beautiful and interesting, with many quaint corners and attractive squares to explore and enjoy. Lovers of Broccante, French antiques, will love the area around the Place de Verdun and the Rue Voltaire, where there are not only many antiques shops but also sometimes flea markets where you can rummage to your heart's content. This area is also packed full of interesting historical architecture and has a delightful public garden where you can relax and recharge your batteries for a while. Much of the old town is pedestrianised, so you can browse without being disturbed by cars and the hustle of everyday life.

New and exciting too...

Grenoble is not just ancient and beautiful, it has its new and exciting side too. Alongside the ancient streets and buildings of the old city, there is the innovative glass and steel architecture of the modern city of Grenoble, and this is just as much a part of the city's personality as the mediaeval cobblestones. Grenoble today has a thriving economy, rooted in industry and commerce, in science and tourism. The city attracts globally successful businesses, and offers cutting edge facilities in order to sustain its success.

What to do in Grenoble

It might be easier to write about what you can't do in Grenoble, as the choices offered by the city are so great. The restaurants and bars are top quality, catering for all tastes pockets and ages, with the youngest and trendiest side of life being centred around the Grenette, with bars such as the Barberousse providing colour and characters! Shopping is second to none, with chic designer boutiques rubbing shoulders with curiosity shops and chocolateries to spoil the diet for! The city hosts music festivals ranging from rock to classical, with theatrical events scheduled throughout the year too. Art buffs are well catered for, with art galleries, museums and exhibitions including a permanent specialism in modern art at Le Magasin.

Technological antiques!

And now for something completely different, as Monty Python would have it. It may sound a contradiction in terms, but when in Grenoble you really should spend a while at the fascinating museum of technology and automatons, which houses a collection by the famous inventor Jacques de Vaucanson. He created the well known automated duck, amongst other fascinating motorised self operating machines. This collection is small but perfectly formed... and quite unique.

Mountain pleasures

All the pleasure of the mountains are at your disposal in Grenoble, whether you are there in winter or summer. Try your hand at rock climbing, if you are feeling brave, or ski or snowboard your way down the snow covered slopes in winter. Many of the best known ski resorts are nearby, so you can choose from Alpe d'Huez, les Deux Alpes, Meribel or Courchevel to name just a few!

How to get there

Reaching Grenoble from the UK is easy, as both Ryanair and easyJet offer direct flights to the city from English airports. It is also possible to fly, or to take a TGV fast train to Lyon or to Grenoble itself. Lyon is served by Air France, bmibaby, British Airways, easyJet and bmi.

Property prices and availability in and around Grenoble

Property prices in Grenoble are high, but then, you get what you pay for! The town is a superb place to live or to holiday, and the rental market is strong, meaning that an investment in Grenoble property is usually sound.

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Grenoble AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Grenoble?

Grenoble lies in south-eastern France, in the centre of the Isère department.

Grenoble Property Map


Rhône-Alpes Guide

Rhône-Alpes Property Map


Isère Guide

  Isère Map

Population: 160,000

Access: By air: Fly to Grenoble itself with Ryanair or easyJet, both budget airlines. For a greater choice of airline, fly to Lyon with Air France, BA, easyJet or bmibaby. By rail: Take the TGV to Grenoble or to Lyon from Paris.

Economy: The economy is a typical city blend of industry, commerce and construction. Tourism is also significant, and in recent times Grenoble has come to be known as a major scientific centre.

Interesting fact: The winter Olympics were held in Grenoble in 1968.


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