Grenoble

Grenoble is a city of around 158,000 inhabitants (550,000 taking into account the metropolitan area) located in the French Alps.

The climate is quite cold in winter, with days of snow almost every year. Summers are known to be hot, as mountains surrounding the town stop any wind.

Grenoble is crossed by two rivers, the Drac and the Isère ("the lion and the serpent"), and is surrounded by three mountain chains, the Vercors, Chartreuse and Belledonne.

The city is renowned for its universities on the campus, for its scientific research centers in the northeast of the city, including Minatec for nanotechnologies and the Synchrotron for high-brilliance source of X-rays as well as for its industrial center in the western suburbs : Meylan, Montbonnot and Crolles including high-tech companies such as STmicroelectronics and Motorola. Therefore it hosts a relatively large population of foreign scientists and students.

Get in

Air

There are three airports near Grenoble:

Grenoble Isère Airport

Also known as St Geoirs, is a small low-cost airport. Flights are more frequent in the ski season.

easyJet and ryanair and Norwegian Airlines offer flights.

Its about 40 km from Grenoble, or about 35 minutes by coach for 12.50€ one way/22€ return, although only run a few times a day. Ben's Bus run shared ski transfer buses from Grenoble Airport to surrounding ski resorts, including Alpe d'Huez, Les 2 Alpes and Chamrousse

Lyon Airport

Also known as Saint Exupéry formerly Satolas, is farther away, about 100 km (1 h by bus, car or train).

Buses go hourly to Grenoble for 22€ one-way, or 33€ return (valid for 2 months) ticket. TGV trains from Lyon airport to Grenoble run several times per day.

Geneva Airport

Geneva Airport , 157 km from Grenoble, is a usual destination of many flight companies, and can be the cheapest than Lyon airport.

Grenoble can be reached by car in less than 2 hours. By train (several times daily) it takes about 2 hours; the price is 23.60€ full price. If the train goes through Lyon, it is both much longer and more expensive. There are also direct buses from Geneva airport to Grenoble railway station for 45€ (see timetable).

Remember that Geneva is a Swiss city so its worth remembering that Switzerland has its own currency (the Swiss Francs); nearly all retail outlets in Geneva accept Euros but change is given in Swiss Francs. Geneva Airport also has a "French part" that does not require to enter into Swiss territory if you come from France and your destination flight is to France, though this only matters for customs as France and Switzerland are under the same immigration scheme.

Civil Aviation

Grenoble also has a little landing-strip (900 m) in the village of Le Versoud (15 km away):

Car

Just follow the highways from/to :

Grenoble can be difficult to navigate by car, but once you get there the "Park and Ride" (parking relais) system operated by Semitag-parking is a good way of getting around. (see trams and buses)

Train

Several high speed trains (TGV) from SNCF link Paris to Grenoble directly every day, for a three-hours trip of 640 km. Full price is about €70 for a one-way ticket. Young people and students will be entitled to a découverte discount which can reduce ticket prices by 25%. Those staying for more than a few months and/or planning to travel by train a lot are advised to purchase a 12-25 card (€50) which gives 25 to 50% discounts.

Hourly trains link Lyon (Part-Dieu station) to Grenoble, from 5:30 am to midnight (5am to 10pm from Grenoble to Lyon). This takes around an 1h15 to 1h30 with the TER (regional trains) . Full price is 20.20€. The train schedule sometimes includes TER buses. The price is the same, the duration is the same, they start at the same station and arrive at the same point.

TER trains also link the city to Geneva in Switzerland (2h), to southern Alps (Gap, Sisteron) and to Valence (1h) where you can change for the TGV to Southern-France.

Get around

Car

Avoid rush hour (7-9AM and 5-6PM) on highways around the town as you are likely to lose time in traffic jams.

Car club

Alpes Autopartage runs a car club in Grenoble. For a minimum duration of 3 months, and a nominal mothly fee of €12-15, you can use any of their 21 cars for as short as 1h to as long as several days. Some cars with winter tires in season, ski racks, etc.

Taxis

Regional buses

Many regional buses can take you from the bus station (gare routiere, by the train station) to ski stations and several towns in the surrounding countryside. For example, Grenoble to Chamrousse (bus 6010) ski station costs €2.70. It is better to buy tickets in advance for access to ski stations in high season- if the bus is crowded, you get priority. Tickets are sold at the main bus station and at the tourist information office (French: Maison du tourisme) which is on tram lines A and B (stop: Hubert Dubedout- Maison du Tourisme).

Information on regional buses VFD (in French only, but finding buses schedules is easy). Be aware that the winter schedule (saison neige) is not the same as for the rest of the year.

Trams and buses

tramway in Grenoble

Five tram lines cross the town with services every few minutes (less frequent on Sundays or at night) and an extensive bus network operates within the city itself, the suburbs and villages further out. The bus network typically stops service at 8:00pm, whereas most of the tram network runs until 1:00am. Individual tickets cost around €1.50, less if bought by 10 or 30. Daily (€5), weekly and monthly passes are available with discounts for students. Tickets are valid for one hour of travel across the TAG network (bus and tram). Tickets can be bought in the bus from the driver, and from machines on the platform for tramways, or at the Maison du Tourisme. You must stamp (composter) your ticket for it to be valid: this is done on the platform at the tram stop or on entering a bus. Ticket inspections are frequent, even during weekends.

Information can be found at TAG and maps at (in French).

Bicycle

Despite its mountainous surroundings, Grenoble itself is one of the flattest cities in Europe, so cycling is an easy way of getting around. Pleasant recreational cycle routes follow the Drac and Isere rivers. An old bicycle track along the Isère river passes in front of the town centre, and the main boulevards have dedicated cycle lanes. Bicycles are allowed on some smaller streets, but riders often have to use the same lane as buses. It is possible to rent bicycles for a day, a week or longer at the railway station and other MetroVelo offices- around €5 a day and about 15/20€ per month. For more information: métro-vélo .

However, the town is walkable and bicycle rides not essential if you are focusing around town area.

Disabled Travelers

The entire tram network and many bus routes have been adapted for wheelchair users. The flatness of the city means it is generally very accessible.

See

The Bastille hill - Grenoble
Parc Paul Mistral
Musée Dauphinois
Saint-Roch Chapel
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné
Castle of Vizille
Little train of La Mure

Do

cable car on top of Bastille
Fountain of lion - Grenoble
View to the Massif of Belledonne
A famous ski resort, l'Alpe d'Huez

Learn

Grenoble has been a center of academic excellence since the 14th century. The main universities share a large, modern, purpose-built campus in St Martin d'Heres (accessible by tram, lines B,C and D). There are universities for science and technology (Joseph Fourier), Humanities and Social Sciences (Pierre Mendès-France), Languages and Literature (Stendhal) and Political Sciences (Sciences PO). Grenoble also hosts several Grandes Ecoles- engineering schools in physics, chemistry, electricity, computer science, and a renowned business school. See Grenoble INP and Grenoble Business School .

Minatec

French language courses are available at Alliance Francaise (English) .

The Polygone Scientifique contains the ESRF light source (a circular building 270 metres wide, very easily visible from the Bastille) and the ILL nuclear reactor (the blue windowless concrete pepper-pot near ESRF), as well as an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory .

It is a particularly good place to do post-doctoral work in biochemistry. There is also the Minatec building, micro and nano technologies, visible from the Bastille.

Buy

If you want a SPA/Hammam, you'll have to get out of the city and head off to the outskirts such as Echirolles or Meylan.

Eat

If you'd like to have an extensive eatery guide with you on your travels, The Guide du Dahu is probably the best restaurant guide to Grenoble. The work of 20 students of Grenoble business school, it includes 300 pages covering restaurants, bars, culture, sport and nightlife. €2.50 from tabacs and bookshops in the city. The Petit Futé series also offers a Grenoble guide, which has an extensive list of restaurants and other businesses.

You can find many good restaurants in the city center, roughly between the Train Station, Place Saint-André and Place Notre Dame. The St-Laurent neighborhood (on the northern side of the Isère river) has a number of Italian restaurants and pizzerias. There are also a number of restaurants that line the Rue Brocherie and the area surrounding Place aux Herbes. In the winter, try typical Alpine dishes such as fondue, raclette and the legendary tartiflette. La Ferme à Dédé, at 24, rue Barnave, has a menu with many local and regional specialties.

Budget

Splurge

Drink

There are a number of bars and pubs located in the downtown area, especially between Place Grenette and Place Notre Dame. Just take a walk and sit where you feel like. Les Frères Berthom, near Place Notre Dame, offers a variety of local brews and a lively ambience. Couche Tard, Bukana, and London Pub cater to Erasmus, international, and American study abroad students.

At Place Saint-André, you will find La table ronde, founded in 1739 as the second oldest café in France to Le Procope in Paris.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

The large chain hotels, such as the Ibis and Mercure, can generally be relied on for comfort and cleanliness. Nightly prices start around €75 in low seasons, and can climb to over €200 during summer.

Splurge

Stay safe

The Drac is a small river and may appear harmless, but the level of water may change quickly, especially when the dam upstream releases water.

Avoid the Villeneuve area at night (the tram stops La Bruyère, Arlequin, and Grand'Place) as well as Village Olympique.

Be aware of pickpockets on the tram and bus lines; though petty theft is not common in Grenoble, it does exist.

Cope

Consulates

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, September 28, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.