With towering snow-capped French Alps looming in the backdrop, Is it a surprise that Grenoble has been nicknamed as the 'French Capital of the Alps'? Perched in the Isere Valley, this southeastern French city is crossed by two rivers - the Drac and the Isere. It is industrial in nature for Grenoble is renowned for housing a series of high-tech corporations.
Kick-start the trip by exploring the Old Town. Soak in the authentic culture and vibe of Grenoble by wandering about its gorgeous old homes, narrow cobblestone paths and little squares. Start the tour by heading over to the Musee de l'Ancien Eveche on Rue Tres Cloitres which traces the history of Grenoble from ancient times through the Middle Ages until the 20th century. Then, spend some time at the Cathedrale Notre-Dame. This 11th to 15th century cathedral is home to a stunning choir with a tabernacle from 1455 to 1457.
History buffs ought to take a trip to the Fort de la Bastille. To reach there, one has take a bubble-shaped car of the Telepherique de la Bastille cableway. Once you reach the top, beautiful panoramic views of the alpine landscape can be enjoyed. Today, it is home to several museums such as the Centre d'Art Bastille showcases expositions of contemporary art or Le Musee des Troupes de Montagne talks about the history of soldiers from this mountainous era.
Those craving for peace and tranquility can spend some time at the gorgeous and picturesque Jardin des Dauphins. This luscious green space is housed on the far side of the Isere river below the Fort de la Bastille. Encompassing about 20 hectares of area, it is lined with an array of ancient trees and wild shrubber as well as plants such as bananas, loquats, and pomegranates. Bordering the Old Town, the Jardin de Ville once used to the private property of the Dukes of Lesdiguieres and and turned into a public park in 1710. Wander around its bright rose gardens and beautiful French-style flowerbeds.
There are several world-class museums in Grenoble. Some of them are: Musee de Grenoble (collection ranges from antiquities and medieval art to European paintings of the 15th through 20th centuries), Musee Archeologique Grenoble-Saint Laurent (talks about the religious history that dates as far back as 1,500 years), Musee de la Resistance et de la Deportation de l'Isere (museum discusses the violent repression of the Nazis and the deportation of the local Jewish population) and Musee Dauphinois (centers on the culture and heritage of the Dauphine region).
When it comes to shopping, there are several big shopping centers that cater to your needs of retail therapy. But the true charm of the city lies in its local markets. One of them is the most centrally housed, Sainte-Claire Les Halles (near the Cathedral), which encompasses a covered food hall as well as the outdoor fruit and vegetable market.
As for cuisine, be sure to dig into Grenoble's classic dish - gratin dauphinois, a tasty side dish prepared with potatoes, garlic and cream and baked until the top is brown and crispy and the inside is soft and creamy. Head over to a Boulangerie or Patisserie, where one can nibble on small cakes (gateaux) with walnut cream. The city is not referred to as the 'walnut capital of France' for no reason.
The stay options in Grenoble is abundant with the best luxury hotels, cheap accommodations and rental apartments available for tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
Grenoble experiences oceanic climate. The best time to visit would be from May to September for the temperatures are pleasant.