Grenoble is known locally as the capital of the Alps. The nickname is unsurprising considering that the city is well surrounded by a range of magnificent mountains, most notably at the Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse and Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors. Despite its location in the mountainous region of France, the city itself is mostly on flat ground.
With a history that spans over 2,000 years, this city is rich in history and classic French architecture. Unwind yourself to the beauties of this alpine French city and be charmed by the capital of the Alps. Here are the top 10 best things to do in Grenoble:
1. Café de la Table Ronde
Visit the second oldest cafe in France and be thrown back in time with its classical demeanor. You can enjoy a cup of coffee here and sit on the terrace while people watching at the Place Saint-André. This legendary cafe is popular with Grenoble’s older residents but there are also young people who hang out at the cafe and get in with the vibe. In summer there is an open air film festival in Grenoble and the big screen is situated on the square of the cafe. This place is an idyllic place to sit back and relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Café de la Table Ronde
Address: 7 Place Saint-André, 38000 Grenoble, France
Website: Café de la Table Ronde
2. Musée de Grenoble
The Musée de Grenoble is a municipal museum of fine arts and antiquities which houses the works of famous artists and painters from the 13th to the 21st century. One such notable painter’s work is Pablo Picasso’s. The vast collection of art works incorporates works from various different countries such as classical Flemish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish painting. There is also an Egyptology section in the museum where you can view ancient Egyptian artifacts up close and personal. A trip to this museum is a must for all you art fans and critics.
Musée de Grenoble
Address: 5 Place de Lavalette, 38000 Grenoble, France
Website: Musée de Grenoble
3. Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse
The Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse (Chartreuse Regional Nature Park) is a massive park located near the Chartreuse Mountains in the backyard of Grenoble. The 690-square kilometer (266-square mile) park is home to many different species of animals ranging from the ibex and lynx to the golden eagle. Nature lovers will be at home in this nature park as it offers you a wide array of trails for them to discover. For the outdoor adventurers, you can go on a hike on over 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) of well-maintained trails or you can go trail running and maybe try out cross-country bicycling. The number of activities you can do here will keep you there for a day.
Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse
Website: Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse
4. Château de Vizille
The Château de Vizille is one of the most important and highly esteemed castles in the Dauphiné region of France. The castle has been around since the 14th century and during those time, it survived a war and also played a pivotal role in the coming of the French Revolution. The Perrier family owned the castle until the late 19th century and was subsequently taken over by the French State. The castle is now a historical monument and also houses the Musée de la Révolution française de Vizille.
Château de Vizille
Address: Place du Château, 38220 Vizille, France
Website: Château de Vizille
5. Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors
The Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (Vercors Regional Natural Park) is one of the national parks nearby Grenoble. It is a protected area made up of forested mountains which lead to the French Western Alps. This regional nature park is bigger than the one at Chartreuse spanning a total of 2062 square kilometers (800 square miles). The park is also rich in wildlife, flora, and fauna. You can also go on a hike on one of the 3000-kilometer (1,860-mile) trails or go mountain biking or caving. There is so much to do here and you will most surely be satisfied.
Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors
Address: 255 Chemin des Fusillés, 38250 Lans-en-Vercors, France
Website: Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors
6. Fort de la Bastille
The Fort de la Bastille was completed in 1592 and was integral to the region’s defense against threats on many occasions. In modern times though, it is no longer a military fort but a famous tourist attraction in Grenoble. The mountain sits atop the southern end of the Chartreuse mountain and is accessible by a cable-car system fro Grenoble below. The urban cable-car system is the first in the world. Visitors up top can expect an amazing panorama of the city as well as the mountains beyond. On a clear day, you can even see the snow-capped peaked of the famous Mont Blanc.
Fort de la Bastille
Address: 38000 Grenoble, France
Website: Fort de la Bastille
7. Jardin de Ville
The public garden in the center of the city is a huge lovely garden with a lot of green and many places to just sit down and relax. In the summer, the garden hosts one of Grenoble’s biggest festivals which will typically span about 5 days. In the 17th century though, the garden once belonged to the Duke of Lesdiguières. The garden is populated with many beautiful plants such as the chestnut trees, sycamore and palm trees. It is a great part of the city to just take a break from the sightseeing and have a cup of tea or just read a book amidst the calm and quiet of the compound.
Jardin de Ville
Address: 5 Jardin de Ville, 38000 Grenoble, France
Website: Jardin de Ville
8. Musée Dauphinois
The Musée Dauphinois is a museum that was opened up by the ethnographer Hippolyte Müller. The museum currently occupies the old convent of Santa Maria d'en Haut and was previously a monastery a long time ago. You can discover the culture, customs, and traditions of the original inhabitants of Dauphiné. The museum houses over 100,000 different items such as drawings, posters, postcards, stickers and much more but only about 5 percent of the objects are on display. This is a place not to be missed if you are interested to discover the culture of the people forms the yesteryears.
Address: 30 Rue Maurice Gignoux, 38031 Grenoble, France
Website: Musée Dauphinois
9. Le Funiculaire de Saint-Hilaire du Touvet
The Funiculaire de Saint-Hilaire du Touvet is a funicular railway which connects Grenoble and Chambery with the village of Saint-Hilarie du Touvet. The village is located on a plateau which is 600 meters (2,000 feet) above the two cities. Before the funicular was built, the only access to the village is either by foot or by riding a mule. The 750-meter (2,500-foot) long railway is a pleasant ride as the panorama of the city unveils slowly when you go up higher and higher. It is also the best opportunity for you to snap some photos. A joy ride up and down is always a breathtaking one here.
Le Funiculaire de Saint-Hilaire du Touvet
Address: 1 Chemin du Polonais, 38660 Lumbin, France
10. Parc Paul Mistral
The Paul Mistral Park is the biggest landscape garden in Grenoble which spans to over 21 hectares (52 acres). Opened in 1925, it was once the site of the 1968 Winter Olympics and it was the host for the speed skating events during the Olympics. There are also various other sporting facilities here such as the Palais des Sports which was the main venue for figure skating events and ice hockey games during the Winter Olympics. The old buildings are still there coupled with beautiful trees and water basins. The park is a nice getaway into Grenoble’s not so distant past.
Parc Paul Mistral
Address: 11 Boulevard Jean Pain, 38000 Grenoble, France
Website: Parc Paul Mistral
Have a grand time in Grenoble!
The French Capital of the Alps is a treasure trove of history, culture, nature and so much more. This beautiful city will captivate anyone who ventures into it and for those are searching for a balance between the city and nature, Grenoble is the best place to be. So simply pack your bags, book a ticket and discover the wonders of Grenoble.
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