Located in the historical Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France and famous for the French Alps, Grenoble is a city that sits at the foot of the mountains between the Isere and Drac rivers. The city is renowned for its scientific research centers, several universities, as well as its cold winters which lend to popular wintertime sports. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and wilderness, this picturesque city features beautiful sites and attractions, from a great nightlife scene to daytime shops, markets and historical sites, and offers a unique experience that you won’t have anywhere else in the country.
One of the must-do activities on your list is to go to the Bastille, a hilltop 19th century fortress that offers the best views of the city and was used in the 1800s to defend France against invasions. You can also explore the Mandarin Caves located underground, and there is a small military museum, along with two restaurants, located at the Bastille as well. Go for a stroll in Parc Paul Mistral, a lush green area located in the center of the city that offers 67 acres of park space. If you’re here at night, you’ll definitely want to see the Perret Tower, which lights up in the evening. Grenoble’s main art museum is the Musee de Grenoble, which houses a collection of modern art and features works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Picasso. For premium city views, go for a ride in the cable car, which shuttles guests across town while providing stunning mountain, river and forest views. The Archaeological Museum of Saint-Laurent houses artifacts that were excavated from the site the museum stands on, delving back 2,000 years into the town’s interesting history. Other must-sees include Grenoble’s Natural History Museum and the Botanical gardens which are attached and feature 20,000 square meters of lush gardens, flowers and greenhouses.
There are many places nearby that make for great day trips near Grenoble. One of the most popular places to visit is Geneva, Switzerland, just under two hours north by car. A global hub for diplomacy and banking, this stunning town offers gorgeous views and features lots of French influence. Another great day trip is the French city of Lyon, which is an hour north and reflects 2,000 years of history and is home to the Lyon Cathedral, among other landmarks.
Grenoble itself is quite small but is surrounded by numerous suburbs. Similar to the suburbs in the United States, these different areas have everything from schools and supermarkets to theaters, and they are all serviced by the tramway and bus system. Several of the major suburbs include Fontaine, Meylan, La Tronche, and Pont-de-Claix, where you can choose from a wide range of accommodation, from apartments to large homes with gardens.
In addition to cars, there are numerous forms of transportation to get around Grenoble. Taxis are another popular options, along with regional buses that offer routes from the bus station to ski stations and various towns in the countryside. There are also tram lines that travel across the town, along with an extensive bus network that operates within the city limits and travels to villages further out. Due to its flat terrain, Grenoble is popular among cyclists, and there are various recreational cycle routes that follow both rivers. The town is also very walkable, particularly if you are exploring the town center.
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