Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region, in the southeast quarter of France.
Former capital of Dauphiné, before the Revolution, the city is now the 16th most populous commune in France with just over 160,000 inhabitants (but its agglomeration has more than 500,000).
Located in a "basin" at the confluence of two rivers, Drac and Isère, on a plateau of average altitude (200 to 600 m) that once sheltered a glacier, Grenoble is bordered and protected by the massifs From the Vercors to the west, from the Chartreuse to the north, Taillefer to the south-east and the chain of Belledonne, which gives it a rather mild climate. It is sometimes called the capital of the Alps, being the most populated of the massif, before Innsbruck in Austria.
Capital of the province of Dauphiné under the counts of Albon from the eleventh century, autonomous entity of the Holy German Empire, Grenoble and its region were attached to France in 1349 and became a province of the kingdom of France so prized that the son of the elder Sovereign bears the title of "Dauphin".
A powerful military city, the city also developed around the glove-making industry (18th century) and white coal (19th century), but it was in the 20th century that Grenoble became one of the major centers of scientific research and news Technologies.
In the second half of the 20th century, the city became a laboratory in terms of town planning and "city policy".
With a rich heritage, before eventually winning the nearby summits, it is an unmissable step in tourism, as many cultural events mark the year in Grenoble.
Grenoble is discovered and can be visited on foot (via numerous thematic or general itineraries), but also by bike (more than 300 km of bike paths) or by cable car, cabins connecting the center to the Bastille fort. Passenger a unique panorama on the city as its surroundings. Open all year. Adult rate: 5,50 euros, child, 3,35 euros. Information at +33 4 76 44 33 65.
In the old town, the lively Place Grenette (where the grain market once stood) is a good starting point before taking the Grand Rue (on the axis of the ancient Roman road) and joining the square Saint-André, where a statue of the Chevalier Bayard stands, a few steps from the Café de la Table Ronde, the second oldest café in France. Nearby, the Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné, the oldest parts of which date back to the 15th, is worth a look if only for its facade where mix several styles.
We then pass by Place aux Herbes (market) and the old hotel of Lesdiguières (XVIIe), which was long the town hall of Grenoble.
Along the streets of the center, many old private mansions testify to the parliamentary and bourgeois past of the city, such as the house of Pierre Bucher (XVIth), where decor of the Renaissance and Gothic style combine.
To see still, in the center, the Tower of the Isle (ex-town hall, XIVe) or the high school Stendhal, former college of the Jesuits built in the XVIIe. It houses a solar clock in the form of a 100 m² fresco dating from 1673.
On the right bank of the Isère, one will mention the old Hotel des Monnaies (XVIth).
The Grenoble districts built in the 19th century, during the industrial development of the city, also contain buildings of choice: the prefecture, the former university or the halls, place Sainte-Claire, on the model of the halls of Paris,.
In terms of religious heritage, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which is adjacent to the Saint-Hugues Church and adjacent to the Episcopal Palace, dates from the 12th century. The choir, of flamboyant Gothic style, is remarkable.
Also worth seeing is the Gothic-style Saint-André collegiate church, which has housed a mausoleum dedicated to the chevalier Bayard since 1822.
Finally, several former convents (of Minimes or Bernardines of Sainte-Cécile), have been preserved and transformed into cultural places.
The military past of Grenoble remains alive. The most notable example is the fort of the Bastille which dominates the city (with some parts dating from the sixteenth). In general, many traces of the old fortifications remain visible.
More peaceful, the squares and gardens are multiple, such as the garden of Ville, ex-park of the castle of Lesdiguières) or the garden of the Plants (on 17 000 m ²) and are as interesting to cross that for a break before returning to visit Grenoble.
As are interesting and refreshing the many fountains that have ornamental value and testify to the particular geography of the city at the foot of the Alps...
Finally, no question of staying or doing stop at Grenoble without visiting one or more of its museums.
Beginning with the museum of Grenoble, also known as Fine Arts (collections covering all periods from antiquity to the present), particularly rich in the 20th century (works by Braque, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Soulages, Warhol...).
The National Center for Contemporary Art (known as Le Magasin) and the Bastille Art Center are also very open to the visual artists of today.
Historically, the Dauphinois Museum (arts and folk traditions), the Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of the Ancien Bishopric.
Dedicated to the great writer of the nineteenth century, the Stendhal museum offers a visit to the author's apartment. Mention will also be made of the Mountains Troops Museum and the Resistance Museum in Isère, which evokes the heroic maquis of the Vercors.
The museum of natural history (founded in the 18th century), the museum of medical sciences and the center for technical and industrial scientific culture opened in 1979 will also be of interest to the general public.
To visit the city and its monuments and museums, call +33 4 76 42 41 41.
In April, Festival En Face, devoted to gay and lesbian cinema.
In April, over two weeks, the Festival of Détours de Babel will be performing shows devoted to contemporary music and jazz.
For three weeks after Palm Sunday, the fair takes place on the esplanade Porte de France.
At the beginning of July, in the open air, festival of the Film Court place saint-André.
During the first fortnight of July, Cabaret Frappé, in the open air (Jardin de Ville), offers a variety of shows.
In October, the Rocktambules festival delights rock fans.
In early November, Encounters of mountain cinema.