Grenoble - The elegant, intellectual, technology, romantic, and revolutionary city of the Alps

telepherique at grenoble climbing to La Bastille

The telepherique that takes you from Grenoble
across the river Isere to the Fort de la Bastille for lovely views and restaurant.

The energetic city of Grenoble is a surprise at every turn. Leaving the very unpretentious railway station one enters a city that has a history of being on the cutting edge. It was here that the revolution in France began before happening in Paris. It is here now that France has leading research centers in nanotechnology and new technologies. It is here that you can find two great modern art galleries - in amongst architecture that has an edge.

It is city of great age and name changes. Originally its celtic name was Cularo, and then under the Romans, "Gratianopolis". In the French revolution the name even became "Grelibre". But now its well known as a thriving university town (one of the oldest universities in Europe - 1339) with a strong cultural, technology, literal, economic base - that makes it an exciting place to live. It geographically is at the meeting of the rivers "Isere" and "Drac" between the Vercors in South-west, the chain of Belledonne in South-east and finally, solid mass of Chartreuse in North. Its height above sea level is 213 metres.

museum of grenoble
Musee de Grenoble
Known for its modern art collection

grenoble telepherique
Telepherique on its way to Fort de la Bastille

pierre de terrail, bayard knight, grenoble

Lively Saturday market at Place Saint Andre

Place Saint Andre

It is in Place Saint Andre, that the stirings of the French Revolution began (la Journée des Tuiles (7 June 1788)). It is here that you see the old Parliament building of Dauphiné from the Ancien Regime, that until fairly recently were the Law courts for the city.

Cafe de la Table Ronde

It is here that you will find the venerable coffee shop - the 2nd oldest in France - "Cafe de la table Ronde" (established in 1739) - where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee, something stronger, or enjoy dining on what is reputed to be the best gratin dauphinois (sliced potatoes, cooked with milk and Gruyere cheese). It was in this cafe - the likes of Sarah Bernhardt and more recently Brel, Fernandel, Brassens, Raymond Devos or Léo Ferré came, as well as local Stendhal, and political heavywieghts as Gambetta and Leon Blum.

The sculpture at its center is of Pierre of Terrail, the Bayard knight, whose mausoleum is in Eglise Saint-Andrew.

place saint andre, grenoble

The old Parliament Building of Dauphine

cafe de la table ronde, grenoble
Cafe de la Table Ronde - 2nd oldest coffee shop in France

museum of grenoble

Musee de Grenoble

Be pleasantly surprised. Be astonished. The Museum of Grenoble has a very fine art collection in wonderfully well lit, and designed building- that is perfect for viewing art. It is one of the major collections in the world of Modern Art - with eminent paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Leger, Bonnard, Soutine, Morris Louis, Andy Warhol, as well as a good sized sculpture park with works by Calder, di Suvero, and Chilida. Give yourself plenty of time to see this large art collection, which also has rooms of the artists of today.

Le Magasin

Grenoble - does not do things by half. Visit Le Magasin - a great art space, in what originally was a warehouse built by one of Eifel's associates. See contemporary artists in a space that challenges, and confronts, creating an ambience is good for pushing the limits of art.

museum of grenoble
Musee de Grenoble

le magasin grenoble
Le Magasin

Fort de la Bastille

Take an exhilirating ride on the telepherique from quai Stephanie Jay, in downtown Grenoble. In your bubble swing above the river Isere, and climb high to the Fort de la Bastille. Your visit will be well rewarded with great views of the sprawling city and the expanse of the surrounding mountains. The Fort was originally built during the 16th century, and then through the years expanded.

If you are thinking of a bite to eat, in a rather wonderful location, take the telepherique to the Fort's restaurant, daytime or at night, for a memorable meal

See the website for Fort de la Bastille

Other sights

A little known treasure in this great city is the Merovingian crypt in the Church of St Laurent - one of the oldest Christian sites in France. For the lovers of Libraries - the town has a former library that is often used for exhibitions, next to Place de Verdun. The Library is grand with a high ceiling and tiered floors along its sides.

fort de la bastille, grenoble
Fort de la Bastille

library, grenoble
Old Grenoble Library

place du verdun, grenoble

Place du Verdun with Library in the background, Grenoble