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Grenoble, France

publication date: Jul 2, 2013
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author/source: Anne Coates

Place Victor Hugo, GrenobleGrenoble, in the south east of France, is one of the main cities of the Rhone-Alps region. The flattest city in France, it’s perfect for strolling around, soaking up the atmosphere from the pavement cafes and absorbing the culture and heritage. I stayed at the Residome Caserne de Bonne, an apart hotel which was just a few minutes walk from Place Victor Hugo (pic right), in Grenoble’s city centre.

From there it’s just a short meander to the covered market Les Halles at Sainte Claire (perfect for your food purchases if you are self-catering) and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame which is certainly worth a visit as is the Musée de l’ancien Evêché (entrance around the corner) on the site of the old Episcopal palace. Underground there’s the baptistery and the city’s fortified ramparts. Upstairs is a fabulous photographic exhibition Les Alpes de Doisneau (120 images from the 30s to 50s) which ends 1 September 2013.

Very near here, taking the rue Jean Jacques Rousseau opposite Les Halles is the Musée Stendal (the author of Le Rouge et Le Noir is Grenoble’s most famous citizen) which sadly I didn’t have time to visit – there’s only so much you can do in a day!

However I visited and would recommend the Musée Archéologique  in rue Saint Lauren especially for children who are fascinated by skeletons – real human ones!

Return to the city centre over the river Isere via the pont de Chartreuse and enjoy an amble through the parc Michallon with an impressive moving sculpture before a visit to the Musée de Grenoble which houses some fantastic modern art (as well as from other centuries) set in a modern and beautifully aspected building. And next door there’s a hands-on science museum for kids.

Right by the Musée de Grenoble is the restaurant Cinque (5) where we had dinner. Very child friendly and great staff and they were quite happy to accommodate different preferences and tastes.

Getting around

  • Excellent tram service – buy tickets in advance and validate before boarding
  • Métro vélo – you need ID and 120€ (cash or card) to hire a bike and there are sizes to suit everyone from small children in baby seats or trailer to older ones with a tandem  attachment or small cycles. Accessories are free.
  • Le Grenoble Pass – starts at 11.50€ and includes a round trip ticket on the Bastille cable cars.