Grenoble travel guide

Grenoble in France

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² and river estuaries.

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère and is an important European scientific centre. The city advertises itself as the "Capital of the Alps", due to its size and its proximity to the mountains.

Grenoble's history goes back over 2,000 years, to a time when it was a small Gallic village. It gained somewhat in stature by becoming the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century, but Grenoble remained for most of its history a modest parliamentary and garrison city on the borders of the kingdom of France.

Industrial development increased the prominence of Grenoble through several periods of economic expansion over the last three centuries. This started with a booming glove industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, continued with the development of a strong hydropower industry in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, and ended with a post-World War II economic boom symbolized by the holding of the X Olympic Winter Games in 1968. The city has grown to be one of Europe's most important research, technology, and innovation centers, with each fifth inhabitant working directly in these domains.

The population of the city of Grenoble was 160,215 at the 2013 census, while the population of the Grenoble metropolitan area was 664,832. The residents of the city are called "Grenoblois".

The many suburb communes that make up the rest of the metropolitan area include three with populations exceeding 20,000, Saint-Martin-d'Hères, Échirolles, and Fontaine.

Geography

Grenoble is surrounded by mountains. To the north lies the Chartreuse, to the south and west the Vercors, and to the east the Belledonne range. Grenoble is regarded as the capital of the French Alps.

Except for a few dozen houses on the slopes of the Bastille hill, Grenoble is exclusively built on the alluvial plain of the Isère and Drac rivers at an altitude of 214 metres. As a result, the city itself is extremely flat. Mountain sports are an important tourist attraction in summer and winter. Twenty large and small ski resorts surround the city, the nearest being Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, which is about 15 minutes' drive away.

Historically, both Grenoble and the surrounding areas were sites of heavy industry and mining. Abandoned mills and factories can be found in small towns and villages, and a few have been converted to tourist attractions, such as the coal mine at La Mure.

Map of Grenoble with accommodations

The blue markers shows the location of various accommodations in Grenoble. The letter in the marker describes the accommodation types: H for Hotel, A for Apartment, R for Resort, B for Bed & Breakfast and O for Other (e.g. pension, villa). Click on the blue marker for more information on the accommodation.