Grenoble By the Locals – Hidden Hotspots and Joyous Jewels
Grenoble – a word that to most people means nothing more than an airport and perhaps the gateway to the French Alps. Not that this is difficult to understand – millions of people pass through Grenoble Airport every year with nothing on their collective minds than dreams of powdery slopes and boozy off-piste activities served up across the Alps.
The thing is though, what about 99% of these people also have in common is the way in which they rob themselves of a pretty amazing experience lying just outside the airport in the heart of Grenoble itself. It’s so easy to hop on a scheduled transfer bus or even grab a taxi into the city centre, so technically if you’ve only got a few hours to kill, you can do a hell of a lot better than circling the duty-free shops a dozen times.
Of course you know the Bastille is in town, but where else can you go and what else can you do to add a new dynamic to your airport stopover?
Here’s a quick look at some of the top picks plucked directly from the minds of Grenoble locals who know the kinds of spots the guidebooks won’t take you to:
- Voie Sur Berge – If you’re lucky enough to have a car while in town, driving along the Voie Sur Berge is a truly unforgettable experience with scenery that looks like it’s been extracted from a movie set. Take your time and drink it in!
- Isère Cycle Paths – You can hire a bike from pretty much any and every corner in and around time during the fairer seasons, so hop on and head over to the world-class cycle paths around the Isère.
- St Laurent – The district of St Laurent is truly spectacular in a rather bittersweet kid of way. The whole place is falling to pieces and looks to be on its last legs, but has a kind of haunting beauty that’s hard to put into words.
- Musée de Grenoble – Usually a lot less busy than you expect it’s going to be, it’s a great place to unwind on some surprisingly comfortable furniture surrounded by great works of art.
- Place St André – There’s really no better place in town for people-watching and enjoying a well-deserved tipple or two. Time it right with the weather and score yourself a prime seat and you could lose a whole day here with ease.
- Tarteline – Located on the Grande Rue, here’s the place to head for the best hot chocolate in town during the colder months and the best tarts the whole year-round.
- Tram Rides – You could pay for an organised tour, or you can pay next to nothing for a 60-minute tram ticket and take in all the sights the town has to offer while rubbing shoulders with the locals.
- Old Town – Last up, the Old Town is probably the most obvious and tourist-centric entry of the list by far, but it would nonetheless be a crime to visit Grenoble and not see its splendour.
Photo sources: flickr.com/photos/frenchhope – flickr.com/photos/ruthhb