Nestled at the foot of the French Alps
Just where the rivers Drac and Isere come together, beautiful Grenoble is a true alpine capital, where the only way is up. Today, it’s a booming science centre, as much known for its technical expertise as its winter snow – from semiconductors and nuclear energy to nanotechnology.
Grenoble is a good place to shop, with department stores, galleries, gift shops and food stores. A handy address is the department store Galeries Lafayette (12 place Grenette), with a great range of products from clothing to homewares. The Librairie Chapitre Arthaud de Grenoble (23 Grande Rue) is an interesting place to browse for coffee-table books and souvenirs. For foodstuffs, try the fabulous Fromagerie des Alpages (4 rue de Strasbourg), for punchy Savoyard specialty cheeses, while Gabriel Gay (5 rue Montorge) is a remarkable handmade jewellery and clock shop. There is also the lively, covered Ste-Claire Market, selling fruit, veg and foodstuffs from Tuesday to Sunday.
Food & Drink
The distinctive cuisine of the Savoyard may be sampled at many excellent restaurants in Grenoble, with dishes cooked with local ingredients such as fresh, delectable cheeses, wild mountain trout, nuts, herbs and meat from locally reared animals. Upmarket places include Le Mal Assis (9 rue Bayard) in the Old Town, a small, smart and cosy restaurant that offers traditional French cuisine, or the more creative and contemporary-feeling Sens (50 boulevard Gambetta). There are plenty of raclette and fondue choices too; for a cheesy feast, try rustic La Fondue (5 rue Brocherie), with a surfeit of melt-in-the-mouth dairy produce.
Grenoble Jazz Festival
The Grenoble Jazz Festival has been an annual tradition for over three decades and takes place in the spring. It’s one of the world’s largest such festivals and attracts a host of big international names. Over 200 musicians play a diverse selection of jazz music, with gigs in more than 20 venues across the city.
Les Arts du Récit
This storytelling festival features colourful narratives, both contemporary and from local folklore traditions, illustrated through theatre, dance, film, and visual arts.
This funky music festival is Grenoble’s main summer event, attracting over 50,000 music fans. Gigs take place in a balmy, alfresco setting under the trees of the City Gardens, and sounds range from jazz to hip hop to world music.
The Rocktambule festival is the focus for pop-rock and electro in Isère and Rhône-Alpes, with lots of local talent playing at myriad gigs and local venues.
Grenoble International Circus Festival
Taking place in Grenoble Sports Centre, this fantastic and renowned event showcases the biggest and best international circus acts.
Capital of the French Alps, Grenoble has plenty of good hotel options, especially mid-range three-stars. However, there are also some grander choices, including the palatial Residhome Grenoble Caserne De Bonne (21 rue Lazare Carnot), which offers coolly contemporary apartments just 10 minutes from the city centre. More central is the charming, stylish Le Grand Hôtel Grenoble (5 rue de la République), a smart four-star option. Among the mid-range places, the stand out is Apparthôtel Privilodges Quartier de Bonne (1 rue Guy Allard), set in a stunning mansion, while Hipark (6 rue Auguste Génin) is another stylish choice.