Be aware of pickpockets on the tram and bus lines; though petty theft is not common in Grenoble, it does exist.
Be aware of pickpockets on the tram and bus lines; though petty theft is not common in Grenoble, it does exist.
Revision as of 11:04, 12 August 2011
View of Grenoble from the bastille
Grenoble is a city of around 158,000 inhabitants (550,000 taking into account the metropolitan area) located in the French Alps.
The climate is quite cold in winter, with days of snow almost every year. Summers are known to be hot, as mountains surrounding the town stop any wind.
Grenoble is crossed by two rivers, the Drac and the Isère ("the lion and the serpent"), and is surrounded by three mountain chains, the Vercors, Chartreuse and Belledonne.
The city is renowned for its universities on the campus, for its scientific research centers in the northeast of the city, including Minatec for nanotechnologies and the Synchrotron for high-brilliance source of X-rays as well as for its industrial center in the western suburbs : Meylan, Montbonnot and Crolles including high-tech companies such as STmicroelectronics and Motorola. Therefore it hosts a relatively large population of foreign scientists and students.
Grenoble Isère Airport, also known as St Geoirs, , about 40 km from Grenoble, or about 35 minutes by coach . Coaches are available for 12.50€ one way/22€ return, although only run a few times a day. This is a small low-cost airport. Flights are more frequent in the ski season.
easyJet  and ryanair  and Norwegian Airlines [norwegian.no] offer flights To / From Grenoble Isère Airport.
Lyon airport, also known as Saint Exupéry formerly Satolas,  is farther away, about 100 km (1 h by bus, car or train). Buses  go hourly to Grenoble. 22€ one-way, or 33€ return (valid for 2 months) ticket.
Geneva Airport , 157 km from Grenoble, is a usual destination of many flight companies, and can be the cheapest than Lyon airport.
Grenoble can be reached by car in less than 2 hours.
By train (several times daily) it now takes about 3-4 hours; the price is 23.60€ full price. If the train goes through Lyon, it is both more longer and more expensive.
There are also direct buses to Grenoble for 56€.
Remember that Geneva is a Swiss city and depending on your country of origin you may need a visa. Since 2008 Switzerland is part of the Schengen area. European Union citizens should not have problems travelling via Geneva. It is also worth remembering that Switzerland has its own currency (the Swiss Franc); nearly all retail outlets in Geneva accept Euros but change is given in Swiss Francs. Geneva Airport also has a "French part" that does not require to enter into Swiss territory if you come from France and your destination flight is to France.
Grenoble also has a little landing-strip (900 m) in the village of Le Versoud (15km away): 
Parking in Grenoble
Just follow the highways from/to :
A41, Geneva (via Chambery)
A48, Lyon and Paris
A49, Valence and Marseille
Grenoble can be difficult to navigate by car, but once you get there the "Park and Ride" (parking relais) system operated by Semitag-parking  is a good way of getting around. (see trams and buses)
Several high speed trains (TGV) from SNCF  link Paris to Grenoble directly every day, for a three-hours trip of 640 km. Full price is about €70 for a one-way ticket. Young people and students will be entitled to a découverte discount which can reduce ticket prices by 25%. Those staying for more than a few months and/or planning to travel by train a lot are advised to purchase a 12-25 card (€50) which gives 25 to 50% discounts.
Hourly trains link Lyon (Part-Dieu station) to Grenoble, from 5:30 am to midnight (5am to 10pm from Grenoble to Lyon). This takes around an 1h15 to 1h30 with the TER (regional trains) . Full price is 15€. The train schedule sometimes includes TER buses. The price is the same, the duration is the same, they start at the same station and arrive at the same point.
TER trains also link the city to Geneva in Switzerland (2h), to southern Alps (Gap, Sisteron) and to Valence (1h) where you can change for the TGV to Southern-France.
Avoid rush hour (7-9 a.m and 5-6 p.m.) on highways around the town as you are likely to lose time in traffic jams.
Alpes Autopartage runs a car club in Grenoble. For a minimum duration of 3 months, and a nominal mothly fee of 12 to 15 euros, you can use any of their 21 cars for as short as 1h to as long as several days. Some cars with winter tires in season, ski racks, etc.
Many regional buses can take you from the bus station (gare routiere, by the train station) to ski stations and several towns in the surrounding countryside. For example, Grenoble to Chamrousse (bus 6010) ski station costs €2.70. It is better to buy tickets in advance for access to ski stations in high season- if the bus is crowded, you get priority. Tickets are sold at the main bus station and at the tourist information office (French: Maison du tourisme) which is on tram lines A and B (stop: Hubert Dubedout- Maison du Tourisme).
Information on regional buses VFD  (in French only, but finding buses schedules is easy). Be aware that the winter schedule (saison neige) is not the same as for the rest of the year.
Trams and buses
tramway in Grenoble
Four tram lines cross the town with services every few minutes (less frequent on Sundays or at night) and an extensive bus network operates within the city itself, the suburbs and villages further out. The bus network typically stops service at 8:00pm, whereas most of the tram network runs until 1:00am. Individual tickets cost around €1.40, less if bought by 10 or 30. Daily, weekly and monthly passes are available with discounts for students. Tickets are valid for one hour of travel across the Semitag network (bus and tram). Tickets can be bought in the bus from the driver, and from machines on the platform for tramways, or at the Maison du Tourisme. You must stamp (composter) your ticket for it to be valid: this is done on the platform at the tram stop or on entering a bus.
Information can be found at Semitag  and maps at Maps Semitag  (in French).
Despite its mountainous surroundings, Grenoble itself is one of the flattest cities in Europe, so cycling is an easy way of getting around. Pleasant recreational cycle routes follow the Drac and Isere rivers. An old bicycle track along the Isère river passes in front of the town centre, and the main boulevards have dedicated cycle lanes. Bicycles are allowed on some smaller streets, but riders often have to use the same lane as buses.
It is possible to rent bicycles for a day, a week or longer at the railway station and other MetroVelo offices- around €5 a day and about 15/20€ per month. For more information: métro-vélo .
The entire tram network and many bus routes have been adapted for wheelchair users. The flatness of the city means it is generally very accessible.
The Bastille hill - Grenoble
Parc Paul Mistral
The Bastille Hill. An ancient series of fortifications overlooking Grenoble. May be reached by cable car , round trip €6.10, or by a 40 minutes hike.
The Parc Paul Mistral is a big park in the center of the city. It includes a roller skating rink and people often play street hockey. The park also boasts extensive lawns and quiet tree-lined avenues. At the center stands the tower Perret, built in 1925 for an international exposition about water-power. When illuminated at night with blue lights, it bears a considerable resemblance to both Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver and the Tower of Mordor. For at least 40 years, it has been impossible to go up due to safety problems.
Art Museum (French: Musée de Grenoble), 5, place Lavalette (near the Cathedral, tramway B at stop Notre-Dame) (tel. (+33) 4 76 63 44 10). Open 6 days a week 10h-18h30 (closed on Tuesdays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st). The museum is worth seeing for the modern, smart building alone. It also houses a nice collection of modern art; among others, the museum holds four Picassos, a few good Matisses, one Miro, one Kandinsky and one Andy Warhol.
Natural History Museum (Muséum d'histoire naturelle), 1 rue Dolomieu (tel. (+33) 4 76 44 05 35, fax (+33) 4 76 44 65 99, email@example.com). Open MTWTF, 9h30-12h, 13h30-17h30 and SS 14h-18h. Closed December the 25th, January 1st, May 1st. Facilities for the disabled. The museum has some nice collections on the subject of mineralogy and Alpine wildlife, and also houses an aquarium.
Musée Dauphinois, 30, rue Maurice-Gignoux (tel. (+33) 4 76 85 19 01). Open Wednesday to Monday except 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Opening times: 10h-18h (October to May), 10h-19h rest of year. Admission is free. This museum is housed in the former convent of Ste-Marie-d'en-Haut, on the side of the Bastille hill. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions about the people and lifestyle of the historic province of Dauphiné. Outside the building are pleasant gardens with a nice view over the city. Exhibitions are in both French and English.
Musée De L'Ancien Eveché, 2, rue Très Cloître (tel. (+33) 4 76 03 15 25, fax (+33) 4 76 03 34 95). Open every day from 9h to 18h except Tuesday (13h30 to 18h00) and on Sunday (10h00 to 19h00). Admission is free. The museum is housed in the former bishop's palace on Place Notre Dame. It displays objects and pieces of art narrating the history of the Isère region and its people from Prehistoric times up to the present. Under the museum is an archaeological crypt; the remains of the city's Roman walls and and a remarkable 4th Century baptistry, discovered during work on tram line B, are not to be missed. Ask for a free audioguide (French or English) at reception.
Museum of Resistance and Deportation, 14 rue Hebert (tel.(+33) 4 76 42 38 53 , fax : (+33) 4 76 42 55 89. History of the French resistance during WWII in the alps, information is in English, French and German. Entry is free.
Musée Archéologique de Grenoble, Place Saint Laurent. First Opened in 1846. It is considered to be a unique archeological site. Over 3000 artifacts and objects have been recovered here. (+33) 4 76 44 78 68. The museum opens May 6, 2011.
Saint-Louis Church (place Victor Hugo, tramway A, B, buses 3, 13, 33, 34)
Saint Roch Cemetery (French: Cimetière Saint-Roch) is the first municipal cemetery in the city of Grenoble, France. Blessed by the bishop of Grenoble Claude Simon on 19 august 1810. It is the largest cemetery in the city with 13 ha, (32.11 acres). Located rue du Souvenir, alongside the Isère, in the district of Ile Verte, it is the only cemetery intramural city and has currently 25,000 graves over an area 13 hectares. Political leaders, military or artististiques are buried in this cemetery. But the most important tombs are represented by manufacturers of gloves. Sculptors Victor Sappey, Henri Ding, Eustache Bernard, Aimé-Charles Irvoy, Urbain Basset are buried in this cemetery. Many mayors of the city since the French Revolution's are buried in this cemetery. Since Joseph-Marie de Barral, mayor in 1790, to Albert Michallon, mayor from 1959 to 1965. The painters Jules flandrin and Jean Achard are buried in St Roch. The most prestigious monument in Saint Roch cemetery is the chapel of Saint Roch, built in 1826 to replace the old chapel bearing the same name, built in the fifteenth century near a hospital for lepers.
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné, the courthouse until 2002. (Place Saint Andre). A 15th-century building belonging to the Isère Council. An ongoing renovation project will give this building new lease of life whilst respecting its patrimonial character and adding a modern touch at the same time.
The Cathedral (place Notre-Dame, tramway B) has been extensively restored in recent years. A free tourist guide gives a potted history of the building and some of its works of art (in French, with an English translation written by a native speaker.
St. Roch Cemetery opened August 19, 1810. With 25,000 graves, 824 were classified as remarkable. At the center of the cemetery, the St Roch Chapel was opened in 1826.
Castle of Vizille
Little train of La Mure
The Museum of French Revolution installed in the castle of Vizille, place Liberation (tel. (+33) 4 76 68 07 35, fax (+33) 4 76 68 08 53). A little city about 14 km in south of Grenoble.
The little train of La Mure A travel with 18 tunnels and a spectacular view on the river Drac and the dam of Monteynard. Saint-Georges-de-Commiers, 17 km from Grenoble.
Musée Hydrelec in the massif of Oisans, about 45 km in south of Grenoble. Hydro generating station near a big dam (Grand'Maison).  (in French)
For more ideas visit the tourism office of Grenoble at: 
cable car on top of Bastille
Fountain of lion - Grenoble
The cable car (French: téléphérique), Quai Stéphane Jay (if you're walking, follow the Isère in the direction of the center of the town until you see the cables, you cannot miss them), (+33) 4 76 33 44 44 (fax: (+33) 4 76 51 61 49, firstname.lastname@example.org). Closed for 3 weeks in January. Otherwise open every day, 10h45-18h30 in winter and up to 9h15-00h15 in summer. The cable car is the easiest way to see the town from above, and the trip in the plastic bubbles is impressive. At the summit (some 260 m above the town) is a 19th-century fortress, La Bastille. When you arrive at the top, you can explore the fortifications, have a meal or light refreshments, follow winding paths further up the mountainside or simply enjoy the view (on a clear day Mont Blanc is visible in the distance). If you take the path (GR9) to the rear of the Bastille, you can walk approx 20-30 mins further up to Mont Jalla to get an even better view, where there is a memorial to the mountain troups who fought in WWII and a monument erected on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Grenoble (1944). You can also walk up to the Bastille via one of several paths or go by car from the city of La Tronche. Paths start from the Fountain of lion on the East side, (this path is called Montée Chalemont) or a park on the West, near the large arch (called Jardin des Dauphins).
View to the Massif of Belledonne
With three mountain ranges on the doorstep, Hiking and climbing are very popular. The place to start is the Maison de la Montagne (3, rue Raoul Blanchard), where you can browse maps and helpful staff (several English-speakers) can help you choose a route according to your level of fitness and the time you have on hand. For short walks around the city, ask for the "Carte des Sentiers Sipavag" (a free hiking map) at the Tourism Office (4, rue de la République) or Maison de la Montagne , close to the Hubert Doubedout tram station. Also look for the "Guides des Balades" at the TAG office (in the same building of the Tourism Office)- a nice add-on to the Sipavag map which lists a number of parks and hikes you can reach with public transportation. The new edition for 2007 includes over 50 different walks, from half-hour strolls to full-day hikes. You will also find suitable maps at any bookshop; the best ones are published by the IGN (National Geographic Institute) and Didier Richard.
A famous ski resort, l'Alpe d'Huez
In winter, skiing is a popular activity, which is unsurprising given the historically ski-friendly terrain; Grenoble hosted the Tenth Winter Olympic games in 1968. The nearest ski stations are only 45 min from Grenoble by car. Stations close to Grenoble include Autrans (1000 m up in the Vercors), Chamrousse (1700 m - 2200 m, in Belledonne). Avoid the two last two weeks of December, which are overcrowded at all ski stations and the most expensive of the year. During high season there are also several daily buses to big ski resorts such as Deux Alpes and Alpe d'Huez (1h30 minutes trip). Tickets can be bought at the Gare Routiere and they offer reductions when buying bus tickets and ski passes in combination. If skiing's not your thing but you still fancy a snowy outing, you might like to try snowshoeing- many centres around Grenoble offer half- or full-day excursions, ask at the Maison de la Montagne or the Maison du Tourisme.
Mountain lakes are a great place to visit during a hot summer day, to swim or just to admire the landscape. For example, the Lacs Robert and Lac Achard are one or two hours hike from Chamrousse. Several paths are available, some suitable for the whole family, others advised for adults only. Also, Annecy- a small, historic city on the edge of a beautiful lake, perfect for swimming- can be reached by train in 1h30 (up to 32 EUR return trip). Fishing in lakes and in some rivers is allowed, but (like everywhere else in France) a permit is required. For information about fishing, contact the local fishermen's union (French: Union des pêcheurs à la ligne. 8, rue Ampère, Grenoble, tel. (+33) 9 50 35 11 73, fax (+33) 4 76 49 02 17, e-mail: email@example.com
Moucherotte mountain, the hardest (and best) way to see the town from above, for hikers willing to spend nearly a whole day. Go to Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte by car or regional bus (bus 5100), then follow the path to the top (you will start at 1000 m and go to 1900 m). The view of the town is stunning. A lot of people use this path on Sundays in Spring and Summer, so you're unlikely to get lost.
For more ideas visit the isere tourism board at: 
Grenoble has been a center of academic excellence since the 14th century. The main universities share a large, modern, purpose-built campus in St Martin d'Heres (accessible by tram, lines B,C and D). There are universities for science and technology (Joseph Fourier), Humanities and Social Sciences (Pierre Mendès-France), Languages and Literature (Stendhal) and Political Sciences (Sciences PO). Grenoble also hosts several Grandes Ecoles- engineering schools in physics, chemistry, electricity, computer science, and a renowned business school. See Grenoble INP  and Grenoble Business School .
French language courses are available at Alliance Francaise (english) .
The Polygone Scientifique contains the ESRF  light source (a circular building 270 metres wide, very easily visible from the Bastille) and the ILL  nuclear reactor (the blue windowless concrete pepper-pot near ESRF), as well as an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory .
It is a particularly good place to do post-doctoral work in biochemistry. There is also the Minatec  building, micro and nano technologies, visible from the Bastille.
If you are looking for a big commercial centre with chain-stores etc., consider Grand Place (tramway A direction Echirolles). Generally very crowded, especially at weekends.
For street shopping, stop at Victor Hugo tramway station (tramway A or B). The tramway station is next to Place Grenette, which is the center of the city. This area is largely pedestrianized. Small, winding streets house many boutique-style shops, chain-store outlets, traditional French cafés and all the usual city centre paraphernalia.
The markets. There are several daily food markets in the city centre. The most centrally located, are at Sainte-Claire Les Halles (near the Cathedral) which has a covered food hall (housing cheese and butchers' stalls) as well as the outdoor fruit and vegetable market, and Place aux Herbes. Watch out for the grape-stealing pigeons - a great favorite with children but detested by the stall-holders! The best market is probably L'Estacade, under the elevated railway tracks next to Cours Jean Jaures.
If you'd like to have an extensive eatery guide with you on your travels, The Guide du Dahu is probably the best restaurant guide to Grenoble. The work of 20 students of Grenoble business school, it includes 300 pages covering restaurants, bars, culture, sport and nightlife. €2.50 from tabacs and bookshops in the city. The Petit Futé series also offers a Grenoble guide, which has an extensive list of restaurants and other businesses.
You can find many good restaurants in the city center, roughly between the Train Station, Place Saint-André and Place Notre Dame. The St-Laurent neighborhood (on the northern side of the Isère river) has a number of Italian restaurants and pizzerias. There are also a number of restaurants that line the Rue Brocherie and the area surrounding Place aux Herbes. In the winter, try typical Alpine dishes such as fondue, raclette and the legendary tartiflette. La Ferme à Dédé, at 24, rue Barnave, has a menu with many local and regional specialties.
Restaurant Maharaja, 16 Rue Chenoise , Grenoble (Tram B Place Notre Dame): Tél. (33) 4 76 87 05 53 ; (Specialties: Indian & Nepali)
Cadet Rousselle, 3, rue Millet, tel. (+33) 4 76 46 02 24 has an excellent crêpe selection with prices for crêpes salés ranging from 4-9€.
Restaurant Kori Tika, 99, rue Saint Laurent, (+33) 4 76 42 63 04 Located across the Isère, a South American restaurant with main dishes ranging from 8-15€.
Les Alpages, 5 rue de Strasbourg, tel. (+33) 4 76 46 32 62 (fax (+33) 4 76 43 12 70). This is not a restaurant, but a world-renowned cheesemongery. Recommended if you want to discover any of their 1200 kinds of cheese, sourced from all over the world.
La Marie Morgane, 3 rue Frederic Taulier, tel (+33) 4 38 37 03 74. This restaurant serves traditional crepes from the Brittany region. Both savory and sweet crepes are served, with a plethora of toppings on offer. The restaurant also serves traditional cider. Not particularly regional, but very homey and the next-best thing if you're not actually going to Britanny.
La Fondue, 5 rue Brocherie, tel (+33) 4 76 15 20 72. Well known in the southeast of France and western Switzerland, fondue is a traditional dish during the wintertime. La Fondue restaurant serves traditional fondue (emmental and gruyere cheese) with mix ins as well as some non-traditional fondues (cheddar, for example).
Punjabi Dhaba 11 r Denfert Rochereau. Phone 04.76.26.18.75 close to the Gare. Thought by many to be the best Indian restaurant in Grenoble, for when you need a break from Cheese and Crepes.
Boulangeries and Patisseries- these little bread and pastry bakeries not only have wonderful tarts and cakes, but they also sell small quiches, panini (grilled Italian sandwiches), and cold sandwiches. Grenoble is the walnut capital of France so look for small cakes (gateaux) with walnut cream, especially during the winter. Other specialties include Chartreuse (a herbal liquor traditionally made by the monks of Grande Chartreuse, a monastery high in the mountains about an hour from Grenoble).
Auberge Napoléon, 7 rue Montorge , Grenoble Tél. 04 76 87 53 64 , near the "jardin de ville"
Restaurant Les terrasses, Place Déesse Hygie , Uriage-les-Bains : Tél. (33) 4 76 89 10 80 ; Fax. (33) 4 76 89 04 62 ;  (Uriage-les-Bains, a small health resort 10 km from town hall of Grenoble)
La Madelon, 55 Avenue Alsace-Lorraine, ☎ 04 76 46 36 90. Elegant yet trendy restaurant close to the train station and business school focusing on regional cuisine in a very relaxed atmosphere with English speaking wait staff. Open lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
There are a number of bars and pubs located in the downtown area, especially between Place Grenette and Place Notre Dame. Just take a walk and sit where you feel like. Les Frères Berthom, near Place Notre Dame, offers a variety of local brews and a lively ambience. Couche Tard, Bukana, and London Pub cater to Erasmus, international, and American study abroad students.
At Place Saint-André, you will find La table ronde, founded in 1739 as the second oldest café in France to Le Procope in Paris.
In the nearby city of Voiron (25 km north-west of Grenoble) are the Caves de la Chartreuse (tel. (33) 4 76 05 81 77), where the famous liqueur is made by the Carthusian Monks. It is claimed to be the largest liqueur cellar in the world. Free guided tours are provided, with a tasting session in the end. Opening hours are 9h-11h30 and 14h-18h30 (closes at 17h30 and weekends from November to April, no lunch break in July and August). See  for more information.
O'Calaghan's Irish Pub, 2 place Berulle, 38000, Grenoble, . This is a nice big family pub with a large terrace. One of the best pubs in Grenoble with plenty of Anglophones as well as locals.
Camping Les 3 Pucelles, Tel: (33) 220.127.116.11.73,  - For those who like to pitch a tent and pack out everything they've packed in.
Auberge de jeunesse de Grenoble : Grenoble Youth Hostel, Tel: +33(4)76 09 33 52, 10, avenue du Grésivaudan, 38130 Echirolles, 
Tulip Inn Hotel D'Angleterre, 5 Place Victor Hugo. With rates €59 and up, this hotel is a great budget option in the center of the city.
Hotel de l'Europe, 22 place Grenette, rates starting at 31€ for a single room. Well-kept hotel with friendly staff in the centre-ville.
The large chain hotels, such as the Ibis and Mercure, can generally be relied on for comfort and cleanliness. Nightly prices start around €75 in low seasons, and can climb to over €200 during summer.
Hôtel Ibis Centre, 5 rue de Miribel, Les Trois Dauphins, Place Félix Poulat, (+33) 4 76 47 48 49, .
Hôtel Mercure Grenoble Président, 11, rue Général Mangin, (+33) 4 76 56 26 56, .
Hôtel Europole , 29 rue Pierre Sémard, (+33) 4 76 49 51 52  - a modern, comfortable space with WiFi available and good rates. Central location.
Hôtel Suisse et Bordeaux , 6 place de la gare (+33) 4 76 47 55 87  - central location, good standard of service and comfort, and moderate prices. Great if you just want a nice place to rest.
Hôtel Bastille , 25 avenue Félix Viallet, (+33) 4 76 43 10 27  - very decent prices, lovely views of the city, good service and comfortable rooms.
Park Hotel, , 10, Place Paul Mistral: Tel. +33 8 20 13 10 20 - Deluxe hotel, renowned for its professional service and old-fashioned charm. Located near a park with a path for jogging/biking. The well-regarded restaurant serves food all day until midnight.
Le Grand Hôtel,  , Place Déesse Hygie ; Uriage-les-Bains : Tél. (+33) 4 76 89 10 80 ; Fax. (+33) 4 76 89 04 62 ; (Uriage les Bains, a small health resort 10 km from Grenoble) - Excellent location with all modern comforts, if lacking a bit of charm. Attentive staff and a calm, quiet lobby with sporadic live piano music.
The Drac is a small river and may appear harmless, but the level of water may change quickly, especially when the dam upstream releases water.
Avoid the Villeneuve area at night (the tram stops La Bruyère, Arlequin, and Grand'Place).
Be aware of pickpockets on the tram and bus lines; though petty theft is not common in Grenoble, it does exist.
Greece, 9 Rue de la Liberte, ☎ +33 447-647-3923 (fax: +33 476-473-776).
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!