Grenoble: Wikis


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Coordinates: 45°11′16″N 5°54′11″E / 45.187778°N 5.903085°E / 45.187778; 5.903085

Commune of Grenoble

Grenoble july 2009.JPG
Grenoble with the Dauphiné Alps
Grenoble is located in France
Country France
Region Rhône-Alpes
Department Isère
Arrondissement Grenoble
Intercommunality Agglomeration community of the Grenoble Alpes Métropole
Mayor Michel Destot
Elevation 204–500 m (669–1,640 ft)
(avg. 212 m/696 ft)
Land area1 18.44 km2 (7.12 sq mi)
Population2 156,107  (2006)
 - Density 8,466 /km2 (21,930 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 38185/ 38000, 38100
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Grenoble (Arpitan: Grenoblo) is a city in south-eastern France situated at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère. The proximity of the mountains has led to the city being known as the "Capital of Alps". There is the biggest Italian community of France, specially peoples from the south of Italy.

The history of the city encompasses a period of more than 2,000 years. Grenoble has been the capital of the Dauphiné since the 11th century. The city experienced a period of economic expansion in the 19th and 20th centuries, symbolised by the holding of the X Olympic Winter Games in 1968. Grenoble is now a significant scientific centre in Europe[1].

The population of the city (commune) of Grenoble at the 2006 census was 156,107 inhabitants. The population of the urban unit of Grenoble was 427,659 inhabitants in 2006. The population of the Grenoble metropolitan area (French: aire urbaine de Grenoble) at the 2006 census was 531,440 inhabitants. The residents of the city are called Grenoblois.

Among the numerous communes that make up Grenoble are the city's largest suburbs, Saint-Martin-d'Hères, Échirolles, and Fontaine, each with a population exceeding 20,000 inhabitants[2].



Aerial view of Grenoble with the Tour Perret

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. For the French it is the capital of the Alps, and the Tour de France regularly passes through Grenoble.

The city is exclusively built on the alluvial plain of the Isère River and the Drac River, at an altitude of 214 metres (702 ft). Mountain sports are an important tourist attraction for the city, both in summer and in winter. Twenty large and small ski stations 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 mining and heavy industry[3]. Abandoned mills and factories can be found in small towns and villages, such as the coal mine at La Mure.


Grenoble can be accessed by plane from Grenoble-Isère Airport, Saint-Exupéry International Airport near Lyon, and Geneva Cointrin International Airport. Within Grenoble there is a comprehensive bus and tram service. It operates 26 bus lines and 4 tram lines, serving all of greater Grenoble. Being essentially flat it is a bicycle friendly city.

The train station and a tram (lightrail)

Grenoble is served by the TGV network with frequent services to and from Paris-Gare de Lyon, often with a stop at Saint-Exupéry International Airport train station, and less frequent trains to and from other destinations in France such as Lille Europe and Nantes. TER services connect Grenoble with Lyon, Geneva, and destinations to the east. Valence to the west provides connections with TGV services along the Rhone valley. Rail and road connections to the south are less well developed.

Road links to the north and west are good, by autoroute, including to Lyon and the Rhone valley via Valence. A highway (in French: autoroute) runs east up the valley towards the Alps and Italy.

The city also has a partial beltway running around the south of the city, the Rocade Sud, which connects the autoroute arriving from the east (the A43), with the autoroute arriving from the north (the A48). There is a project to complete the ring road encircling the city, with a tunnel under the Bastille being the likely route [4].


For the ecclesiastical history, see Bishopric of Grenoble.


Last remnants of the Roman Walls

The first references to Grenoble date back to 43 BC. Cularo was at that time a little Gallic village founded by the Allobroges tribe near a bridge across the Isere River. A strong walls was built around the small town in 286 AD[5].

The Emperor Gratian visited Cularo and, touched by the welcome of the people, he made this village a Roman City. In honour of this Cularo was renamed Gratianopolis (“city of Gratian”) in 381.

Christianity spread to the region during the 4th century. The diocese of Grenoble was founded in 377. The bishops exercised from that time a significant political power over the city and until the French Revolution styled themselves the “bishops and princes of Grenoble” [6].

After the collapse of the Roman Empire the city was part of the first Burgundian kingdom in the 5th Century, then the second Burgundian kingdom of Arles until 1032, when it was integrated into the Holy Roman Empire

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Middle Age

Coat of arms of Grenoble

Grenoble grew significantly in the 11th century when the Counts of Albon chose this little city as the capital of their territories. At the time, their possessions were a patchwork of several territories sprawled across the region[7]. The central position of Grenoble allowed them to strengthen their authority. These counts later took the title of Dauphins. Grenoble then became the capital of the State of Dauphiné.

In spite of that status, the authority of the counts was shared with the Bishop of Grenoble. One of the most famous of them was Saint Hugh. Under his rule, the bridge of the city was rebuilt, and a hospital was constructed along with a leper hospital[8].

Coat of arms of the Dauphiné

The inhabitants of Grenoble took advantage of the division between the Counts and the Bishops and obtained the recognition of a Charter of Customs that guaranteed their rights[9]. That charter was confirmed by Kings Louis XI in 1447 and Francis I in 1541.

In 1336 the last Dauphin Humbert II founded the Conseil Delphinal which settled at Grenoble in 1340. He also established the University of Grenoble in 1339. Nevertheless, aging and heirless, Humbert sold his state to France in 1349 on condition that the heir to the French crown uses the title of Dauphin. The first one, the future Charles V, spent nine months in Grenoble. The city remained the capital of the Dauphiné, henceforth a province of France. The Estates of Dauphiné were created.

The only Dauphin who really governed his province was Louis XI, whose “reign” lasted nine years, from 1447 to 1456. It was only under his rule that Dauphiné properly joined the Kingdom of France. The Old Conseil Delphinal became a Parlement (the third one in France after the Parliaments of Paris and Toulouse), strengthening the status of Grenoble as a Provincial capital. He also ordered the construction of the Palais du Parlement (finished under Francis I) and ensured that the Bishop pledged allegiance, thus forging the political union of the city[10].

At that time, Grenoble was a crossroad between Vienne, Geneva, Italy and Savoy. It was the industrial centre of the Dauphiné and the biggest city of the province.


François de Bonne, duc de Lesdiguières

Due to its geographical situation, French troops were garrisoned in Grenoble and its region during the Italian Wars. Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francis I went several times to Grenoble. But the people had to suffer from the exactions of the soldiers.

The nobility of the region took part in various battles (Marignano, Pavia) and in so doing gained an immense prestige[11]. The best-known of its members was Bayard, "the knight without fear and beyond reproach".

Grenoble suffered as a result of the French Wars of Religion. The Dauphiné was indeed an important settlement for Protestants and therefore experienced several conflicts. The baron des Adrets, the leader of the Huguenots, pillaged the Cathedral of Grenoble and destroyed the tombs of the former dauphins.

In 1575, Lesdiguières became the new leader of the Protestants and thanks to the accession of Henry IV to the throne of France, he allied himself with the governor and the lieutenant general of the Dauphiné. But this alliance did not bring an end to the conflicts. Indeed, a Catholic movement, the Ligue, which took Grenoble in 1590, refused to make peace. After months of assaults, Lesdiguières defeated the Ligue and took back Grenoble. He became the leader of the entire province[12].

Lesdiguières became the lieutenant-general of the Dauphiné and administered the Province from 1591 to 1626. He began the construction of the Bastille in order to protect the city. He also ordered the construction of new walls, increasing the size of the city. Lastly he constructed the Hôtel Lesdiguières, built new fountains and dug sewers[13].

From Louis XIV to the French Revolution

The day of the Tiles

The revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV caused the departure of 2,000 Protestants from Grenoble, weakening the economy of the city[14].

But it also weakened the glove industry of Grasse, leaving the glove factories of Grenoble without any competition[15]. It allowed a stronger economic development for the city during the 18th century. There were at the beginning of that century only 12 glovers who made each year 15 000 dozen gloves; in 1787, they were 64 and they made 160 000 dozen gloves[15].

The city gained some notoriety on 7 June 1788 when the townspeople assaulted troops of Louis XVI in the "Day of the Tiles". The people attacked the royal troops to prevent an expulsion of the notables of the city (that would have seriously endangered the economic prosperity of Grenoble). Following these events the Assembly of Vizille took place. Its members organised the meeting of the old Estates General, thus beginning the Revolution. During the French Revolution, Grenoble was highly represented in Paris by two illustrious notables, Jean Joseph Mounier and Antoine Barnave.

In 1790 the Dauphiné was divided into three departments and Grenoble became the chef-lieu of the Isere department. The city was renamed Grelibre and took back its real name only under Napoleon. Only two abbeys were executed at Grenoble during the Reign of Terror. Pope Pius VI, prisoner of France, spent three days at Grenoble in 1799 before going to Valence where he died.

19th century

Defensive walls around the town
Fountain of the Three Orders

The approval of the establishment of the Empire was clear and overwhelming (in Isère, the results showed 82,084 yes and only 12 no)[16].

Grenoble welcomed for the second time a prisoner Pope in 1809. Pius VII spends ten days in the city on the way to his exile in Fontainebleau.

In 1813, Grenoble was under threat from the Austrian army which invaded Switzerland and Savoy. The city, well-defended, contained the Austrian attacks and the French army defeated the Austrians, forcing them to withdraw at Geneva. But the invasion of France in 1814 resulted in the capitulation of the troops and the occupation of the city.

During his return from the island of Elba in 1815, Napoleon took a road that led him near Grenoble, at Laffrey. There he met the royalist 5th Infantry Regiment of Louis XVIII. Napoleon stepped towards the soldiers and said those famous words: " If there is among you a soldier who wants to kill his Emperor, here I am ". The soldiers all joined his cause. After that, Napoleon was acclaimed at Grenoble. He said later: “From Cannes to Grenoble, I still was an adventurer; in that last city, I came back a sovereign” [17]. But after the defeat of Waterloo, the region suffered from a new invasion of Austrian and Sardinian troops.

In the 19th century there was a significant industrial development of Grenoble. The glove factories reached their Golden Age at that time, with their products exported to the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia [18].

The Bastille fortress was transformed between 1824 and 1848 by general Haxo and took its present-day aspect. During the Second Empire, the region saw the construction of its railway network and the first trains arrived at Grenoble in 1858.

In 1869, Aristide Berges played a major role in industrializing hydroelectricity production. With the development of his paper mills, he accelerated the economic development of the Grésivaudan valley and Grenoble.

20th century

World War I accelerated that trend[19]. Indeed, in order to sustain the effort of war, new hydroelectric industries grew up alongside the various rivers of the region. Several other enterprises moved into the armaments industry. Chemicals factories were also established in the area surrounding Grenoble. This development resulted in a significant immigration to Grenoble, particularly from Italian workers, who settled in Saint-Laurent quarter.

Gate of the exposition

The economic development of the city was highlighted by the organization of the International Exposition of the “Houille Blanche” in 1925, visited by one million people.[20]

During World War II, at the Battle of the Alps, the Nazi invasion was stopped near Grenoble at Voreppe by the forces of General Cartier. The French forces resisted until the armistice. Grenoble was then part of the French State, before submitting to Italian occupation from 1942 to 1943. Their mercy towards the Jewish populations resulted in a significant increase of their number in the region[21].

Grenoble was extremely active in the Résistance against the occupation. Its action was symbolized by figures such as Eugène Chavant, Léon Martin and Marie Reynoard[22]. The University of Grenoble supported the clandestine operations and provided false documentation for young people to prevent them from being assigned to STO.

In September 1943, German troops occupied Grenoble, escalating the conflict with the clandestine movements. On November 11, 1943 (the anniversary of the armistice of 1918) massive strikes and demonstrations took place in front of the local collaboration offices. In response, the occupiers arrested five hundred members of the Résistance organizations of Grenoble. This violent crackdown was nicknamed “Grenoble’s Saint- Bartholomew[23].

Xth Winter Olympic Flame

But this event only intensified the activities of Grenoble’s resistance movements. On November 13, they blew up the artillery at the Polygon, which was a psychological shock for an enemy who then intensified the repression. But this did not prevent the destruction of their new arsenal on December 2 at the Bonne Barracks. After the Normandy landing, resistance operations reached their peak, with numerous attacks which considerably hampered the activity of German troops. On November 5, General Charles de Gaulle came to Grenoble and bestowed on the city the Compagnon de la Libération, in order to recognise a heroic city at the peak of the French resistance and combat for the liberation[22].

In 1968, Grenoble welcomed the Xth Olympic Winter Games. This event modernized the city, with the development of infrastructure (airport, motorways) and the creation of new neighborhoods.[citation needed] It also developed new ski resorts (Chamrousse, Les Deux Alpes, Villard de Lans).

Main sights

The Bastille from downtown

La Bastille

The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications, sits on the mountainside overlooking Grenoble and is visible from many points in the city. The Bastille is one of Grenoble's most visited tourist attractions, and is a good vantage point for viewing the town below and the surrounding mountains.

Although the Bastille was begun in the Middle Ages, later years saw extensive additions including a semi-underground defense network. The Bastille has been credited as the most extensive example of early 18th century fortifications in all of France, and held an important strategic point on the Alpine frontier.[24]

"Les Bulles": the cable cars

Since 1934, the Bastille has been the destination of the "Téléphérique de Grenoble Bastille". This system of egg-shaped cable cars known to locals as "Les Bulles" provides the occupants with an excellent view over the Isère River. At the top are located two restaurants: Le Restaurant du Téléphérique‎ ( with one of the most beautiful views of Grenoble) and Chez Le Pèr'Gras‎.

Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné

Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné

This palace was constructed between 1478 and 1539. It was the location of the Parlement of Dauphiné until the French Revolution. It then became a courthouse until 2002, (Place Saint Andre). The palace was extended at the end of the 19th century.

The building now belongs to the Isère Council (Conseil Général de l'Isère‎). An ongoing renovation project will give this building a new life whilst preserving its patrimonial character and adding a modern touch at the same time.[citation needed]

The Musée de Grenoble and the Tour de l'Isle in background

Museum of Grenoble

On display are Egyptian antiquities as well as Greek and Roman artifacts. The Museum of Grenoble ((French)Musée de Grenoble) is above all renowned for its collection of paintings that covers all the artistic evolutions.

Archaeological museum

Archaeological museum of Saint Laurent

Located in the Place Saint Laurent, the collections come from the archaeological excavations done on the site and are dated throughout the 3rd century A.D. Situated on the right bank of the Isère, the museum presents the vestiges permitting to carry up the time until the origins of Christianity. The museum is situated in a Benedictine church of the 12th century. Discovered in 1803 by Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac, brother of the egyptologist, Jean-François Champollion. The church is one of the first monuments classified in France, thanks to the intervention of Prosper Mérimée, historic monument inspector[25]. Since 1978, a systematic excavation is led Loud in the setting of a regional research program on the evolution of the churches during the Middle Ages. The museum is closed for works until September 2010.

Education and Science

Secondary level

The presence of a large international community through both foreign students and foreign researchers has prompted the creation of an international school more than a decade ago. The Cité Scolaire Internationale Europole (CSI Europole) was formerly situated downtown in the Lycée International Stendhal, across from the Maison du Tourisme.

Building on campus

Tertiary level

In a 1339 pontific bull, Pope Benedict XII commissioned the establishment of the University of Grenoble. In 1968 the university was relocated in a unique campus outside of the city in Saint Martin d'Hères.

It was also sub-divided into separate universities as part of educational reforms.

Grenoble Institute of Technology (INPG) is also considered as part of the University.

Grenoble is now an important university center, with more than 60,000 students including 16% from abroad[26].

Science and engineering

Grenoble is also a major scientific center, especially in the fields of physics, computer science and applied mathematics: Joseph Fourier University (UJF) is one of the leading French scientific universities while the Grenoble Institute of Technology trains more than 5,000 engineers every year in key technology disciplines.

Many fundamental and applied scientific research laboratories are conjointly managed by Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble Institute of Technology and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Numerous other scientific laboratories are managed independently or in collaboration with the CNRS and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA).

Other research centers in or near Grenoble include the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and one of the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (Nuclear Energy Commission)(CEA) main research facilities.

Site of Minatec

The recent development of Minatec, a centre for innovation in micro & nanotechnology only increases the position of Grenoble as one of the European scientific centers.[27]

The city benefits from the highest concentration of strategic jobs after Paris in France (14% of the employments, 35,186 jobs, 45% of which specialized in design and research)[28]. Grenoble is also the largest research center of France after Paris with 21,000 jobs[29].

Human and social sciences

An IEP is located here, the Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble, as well as an internationally ranked business school, the Grenoble École de Management (Grenoble-EM) and Wesford Graduate Business School.

Knowledge and Innovation Community

Grenoble is one of co-location centres of Knowledge and Innovation Community (Sustainable Energy) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) [30]


Grenoble is one of the leading European cities in term of high-tech especially bio and nano-technologies. World-renowned enterprises have settled in Grenoble and in the surrounding area.

Business District Europole


  • The town is famous for manufacturing of gloves, for which an innovative technique from Xavier Jouvin was introduced in the 19th century[31].


  • The biggest enterprises of Grenoble were in 2007, by number of employees[32]:
Enterprise, location Number of employees
STMicroelectronics, Grenoble and Crolles 5,947 Semiconductor manufacturing, R&D
Schneider Electric, Grenoble agglomeration 5,140 Electrical equipment, R&D
Caterpillar France, Grenoble and Echirolles 2,640 Construction of heavy equipment
Hewlett Packard France, Eybens 2,000 Computer science
BD, Pont-de-Claix 1,667 Conception and production of advanced systems for drugs administration
Sémitag, Eybens 1,450 Public Transport
Crédit agricole Sud Rhône-Alpes, Grenoble 978 Bank
Groupe Casino, Grenoble agglomeration 929 Supermarkets
Soitec, Bernin 915 Microelectronics - SOI technology
Siemens Transmission & Distribution, Grenoble 800 Electrical material

The presence of enterprises such as HP or Caterpillar in the city results in the settlement of many American and British workers in Grenoble, especially in surrounding mountain villages. The region has the second largest English speaking community in France after Paris.[33] This community has an English speaking Church and supported the International School.[citation needed]


Grenoble hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics. The city is famous for many nearby ski resorts nestled in the surrounding mountains.

It is the home of a rugby union team FC Grenoble, a football team Grenoble Foot 38, and an ice hockey team Brûleurs de loups.

  • The via ferrata Grenoble is a climbing route located on the hill of the Bastille in Grenoble.


Maison de la culture MC2

Grenoble hosts several festivals : the Grenoble Jazz Festival in March, the Open Air Short Film Festival early July and the Cabaret Frappé music festival end of July.

The Summum is the biggest concert hall in Grenoble, the most famous artists produce there, another big hall is nearby in Voiron and called Le grand angle. Smaller ones in the city include the Salle Olivier Messiaen.

The main cultural center of the city is the MC2 (Maison de la culture) that hosts music, theater and dance performances.

There are several theater in Grenoble, the main one being Grenoble Municipal Theater (Théatre de Grenoble). Others are the Théâtre de Création, the Théâtre Prémol and the Théâtre 145.

There are two main art center in Grenoble, the Centre national d'Art contemporain also called Le Magasin and the Centre d'art Bastille.

Grenoble is famous for its walnuts, for which it enjoys an appellation of controlled origin[34].

The town hosts an important Comics publisher, Glénat.

Notable People from Grenoble

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Grenoble is twinned with:[35]


Grenoble (west side) from la Bastille
Grenoble from the Vercors ranges

See also



  1. ^ Graff, James (2004-08-22). "TIMEeurope Magazine | Secret Capitals | Aug. 30, 2004". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  2. ^ "Insee - Populations légales 2006". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  3. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p67
  4. ^ The web site of the Rocade Nord lists the two preferred routes, each of which pass under the Bastille:
  5. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p18
  6. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p40
  7. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p9
  8. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p27
  9. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p32
  10. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p58
  11. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné’’, Félix Vernay, 1933, p78
  12. ^ Petite Histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p88
  13. ^ Histoire de Grenoble, Vidal Chaumel, Editions Privat, p.68,123,126,223
  14. ^ Petie Histoire…, Félix Vernay, 1933, p97
  15. ^ a b Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p98
  16. ^ Petite Histoire du Dauphiné, Félix Vernay, 1933,p115
  17. ^ Petite histoire du Dauphiné , Félix Vernay, 1933, p120
  18. ^ L’histoire de l’Isère en BD, Tome 5, Gilbert Bouchard, 2004
  19. ^ L’histoire de l’Isère en BD, Tome 5, Gilbert Bouchard, 2004, p40
  20. ^ chiffres
  21. ^ L’histoire…, Tome 5, Gilbert Bouchard, 2004, p45
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^
  24. ^ See web site
  25. ^ "Musée archéologique St Laurent". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  26. ^ "Présentation PowerPoint" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  27. ^ See official website
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ EOLAS. "Synergy between research training and industry". Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ A. Doyon, Xavier Jouvin, inventeur grenoblois et sa famille, Paris, Dayez ed., 1976
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Comptable à Grenoble, Isère (38)". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  34. ^ Annecybernard - Conception et Design Olivier Bellon, Programmation Frederic Chatel. "Noix De Grenoble AOC CING Comité Interprofessionnel". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  36. ^ "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr Destrict". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

View of Grenoble from the bastille
View of Grenoble from the bastille

Grenoble[1] 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. The town is renowned for its scientific research centers, including Minatec and the Synchrotron (nanotechnology and high-brilliance source of X-rays, respectively) and universities. The city hosts a relatively large population of foreign scientists and students (more than in other comparable towns in France). 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.

Get In


There are two airports near Grenoble:

  • Grenoble Isère International Airport, also known as St Geoirs, [2], about 40 km from Grenoble, or about 35 minutes by coach [3]. Coaches are available for 12.50€ one way/22€ return, although only run a few times a day. This is a small airport although flights are more frequent in the ski season.
    • easyJet [4] and ryanair [5] offer flights To / From Grenoble Isère International Airport.
  • Lyon International airport, also known as Saint Exupéry or Satolas, [6] is farther away, about 100 km (1 h by bus, car or train). Buses [7] go hourly to Grenoble. 20€ one-way, or 30€ return (valid for 2 months) ticket.
  • AirSouthwest [8] offer flights to and from Plymouth, IL

Also, you may consider coming from

  • Geneva Airport [9], 157 km from Grenoble, is a usual destination of many flight companies, and therefore the choice of many international students. Generally this is the cheapest route from most major European cities. Grenoble can be reached by car in about 2h. By train (several times daily) it takes about 3 hours; the price ranges from 26€ to 44€, depending whether it goes through Lyon. There are also direct buses to Grenoble for 56€. Remember that Geneva is a Swiss city and depending on your country of origin you may need a visa. It is also worth remembering that Switzerland has its own currency (the Swiss Franc); nearly all retail outlets in Geneva accept Euros but change is given in Swiss Francs. European Union citizens should not have problems travelling via Geneva. 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.

The town also has a little aerodrome (landing-strip = 900 m), situated in the city of Le Versoud (8 miles away): [10]

Parking in Grenoble
Parking in Grenoble

Just follow the highways from/to :

  • A41, Geneva (by Chambery)
  • A48, Lyon
  • A49, Valence
  • A51, Aix-en-Provence (south)

Grenoble can by difficult to navigate by car, but once you get there the "Park and Ride" (parking relais) system operated by SEMITAG-parking [11] is a good way of getting around. (see trams and buses)


Several high speed trains (TGV) from SNCF [12] link Paris to Grenoble directly every day, for a three-hour trip of 640 km. Full price is about 70 Eur for a one-way ticket. Young people and students will be entitled to a 12-25 (douze-vingt-cinq) discount which reduces ticket prices by a few Euros. 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 (around €50) which gives considerable additional 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 hour and a half via the trains regional [13] (TER). Full price is 15 Eur. The train schedule sometimes includes buses. The price is the same, the duration is the same, they start at the same station and arrive at the same point.

Get Around


Avoid rush hour (7-9 am and 5-6 pm) on highways around the town- you are likely to lose around one hour 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 to 15 euros, 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,...

  • Taxis of Grenoble : Tél. +33 (0)4 76 54 42 54 ; Fax +33 (0)4 76 51 55 66 ;[14]
  • Suburban Taxis : Tél. +33 (0)4 76 54 17 18 ; Fax +33 (0)4 76 54 45 75 ; [15]
regional buses Transisere
regional buses Transisere

Lots of regional buses can take you from the gare routiere (in the town centre, by the train station)to ski stations and various 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 [16] (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.

tramway in Grenoble
tramway in Grenoble

Four tram lines cross the town with services every few minutes (less frequent on Sundays) and an extensive bus network operates within the city itself, the suburbs and villages further out. Individual tickets cost around €1.40, less if bought in lots of 10 or more, and various daily and weekly passes are available. Tickets are valid for one hour of travel across the Semitag 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.

Information can be found at SEMITAG [17] and maps at Maps SEMITAG [18] (in French).


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 (for the fearless only!). 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 [19] (French only).

Disabled Travellers

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.

The Bastille hill - Grenoble
The Bastille hill - Grenoble
Parc Paul Mistral
Parc Paul Mistral
Musée Dauphinois
Musée Dauphinois
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné
Castle of Vizille
Castle of Vizille
Little train of La Mure
Little train of La Mure
  • The Bastille Hill. An ancient series of fortifications overlooking Grenoble. May be reached by cable car [20], round trip €6.10.
  • The Parc Paul Mistral is a big park in the center of the town. It houses a roller skating rink, and people often play street hockey. The park also boasts extensive lawns and quiet tree-lined avenues. At the center stands the tower Perret, built in 1925 for an international exposition about water-power. Illuminated at night with blue lights it bears a considerable resemblance to both Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver and the Tower of Mordor. It is not currently possible to go up due to safety problems.
  • Natural History Museum [21] (Muséum d'histoire naturelle), 1 rue Dolomieu (tel. (+33) 4 76 44 05 35, fax (+33) 4 76 44 65 99, Open MTWTF, 9h30-12h, 13h30-17h30 and SS 14h-18h. Closed December the 25th, January 1st, May 1st. Facilities for the disabled. The museum has some nice collections on the subject of mineralogy and Alpine wildlife, and also houses an aquarium.
  • Art Gallery [22] (French: Musée de Grenoble), 5, place Lavalette (near the Cathedral, tramway B at stop Notre-Dame) (tel. (+33) 4 76 63 44 10). Open 6 days a week 10h-18h30 (closed on Tuesdays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st). The museum is worth seeing for the modern, smart building alone. It also houses a nice collection of modern art; among others, the museum holds four Picassos, one Miro, one Kandinsky and one Andy Warhol.
  • Musée Dauphinois [23], 30, rue Maurice-Gignoux (tel. (+33) 4 76 85 19 01). Open Wednesday to Monday except 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Opening times: 10h-18h (October to May), 10h-19h rest of year. Admission is free. This museum is housed in the former convent of Ste-Marie-d'en-Haut, on the side of the Bastille hill. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions about the people and lifestyle of the historic province of Dauphiné. Outside the building are pleasant gardens with a nice view over the city. Exhibitions are in both French and English.
  • Musée De L'Ancien Eveché [24], 2, rue Très Cloître (tel. (+33) 4 76 03 15 25, fax (+33) 4 76 03 34 95). Open every day from 9h to 18h except Tuesday (13h30 to 18h00) and on Sunday (10h00 to 19h00). Admission is free. The museum is housed in the former bishop's palace at Place Notre Dame. It displays objects and pieces of art narrating the history of the Isère region and its people from Prehistoric times up to the present. Under the museum is an archaeological crypt; the remains of the city's Roman walls and and a remarkable 4th Century baptistry, discovered during work on tram line B, are not to be missed. Ask for a free audioguide (French or English) at reception.
  • Museum of Resistance and Deportation [25], 14 rue Hebert (tel.(+33) 4 76 42 38 53 , fax : (+33) 4 76 42 55 89. History of the French resistance during WWII in the alps.
  • Musée Archéologique Saint Laurent [26], Place Saint Laurent. First Opened in 1846. It is considered to be a unique archeological site. Over 3000 artifacts and objects have been recovered here. (+33) 4 76 44 78 68 -- closed for works until September 2010 -
  • Saint-Louis Church (place Victor Hugo, tramway A, B, buses 3, 13, 33, 34)
  • Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné, the courthouse until 2002. (Place Saint Andre). A 15th-century building belonging to the Isère Council. An ongoing renovation project will give this building new lease of life whilst respecting its patrimonial character and adding a modern touch at the same time.
  • The Cathedral (place Notre-Dame, tramway B) has been extensively restored in recent years. A free tourist guide gives a potted history of the building and some of its works of art (in French, with an English translation written by a native speaker.
  • The Museum of French Revolution [27] installed in the castle of Vizille, place Liberation (tel. (+33) 4 76 68 07 35, fax (+33) 4 76 68 08 53). A little city about 14 km in south of Grenoble.
  • The little train of La Mure [28] A travel with 18 tunnels and a spectacular view on the river Drac and the dam of Monteynard. Saint-Georges-de-Commiers, 17 km from Grenoble.
  • Musée Hydrelec in the massif of Oisans, about 45 km in south of Grenoble. Hydro generating station near a big dam (Grand'Maison). [29] (in French)
  • For more ideas visit the tourism office of Grenoble at: [30]
cable car on top of Bastille
cable car on top of Bastille
Fountain of lion - Grenoble
Fountain of lion - Grenoble
  • The cable car (French: téléphérique), Quai Stéphane Jay (if you're walking, follow the Isère in the direction of the center of the town until you see the cables, you cannot miss them), (+33) 4 76 33 44 44 (fax: (+33) 4 76 51 61 49, Closed for 3 weeks in January. Otherwise open every day, 10h45-18h30 in winter and up to 9h15-00h15 in summer. The cable car is the easiest way to see the town from above, and the trip in the plastic bubbles is impressive. At the summit (some 260 m above the town) is a 19th-century fortress, La Bastille. When you arrive at the top, you can explore the fortifications, have a meal or light refreshments, follow winding paths further up the mountainside or simply enjoy the view (on a clear day Mont Blanc is visible in the distance). If you take the path (GR9) to the rear of the Bastille, you can walk approx 20-30 mins further up to Mont Jalla to get an even better view, where there is a memorial to the mountain troups who fought in WWII and a monument erected on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Grenoble (1944). You can also walk up to the Bastille via one of several paths or go by car from the city of La Tronche. Paths start from the Fountain of lion on the East side, (this path is called Montée Chalemont) or a park on the West, near the large arch (called Jardin des Dauphins).
View to the Massif of Belledonne
View to the Massif of Belledonne
  • With three mountain ranges on the doorstep, Hiking and climbing are very popular. The place to start is the Maison de la Montagne (3, rue Raoul Blanchard), where you can browse maps and helpful staff (several English-speakers) can help you choose a route according to your level of fitness and the time you have on hand. For short walks around the city, ask for the "Carte des Sentiers Sipavag" (a free hiking map) at the Tourism Office (4, rue de la République) or Maison de la Montagne [31], close to the Hubert Doubedout tram station. Also look for the "Guides des Balades" at the TAG office (in the same building of the Tourism Office)- a nice add-on to the Sipavag map which lists a number of parks and hikes you can reach with public transportation. The new edition for 2007 includes over 50 different walks, from half-hour strolls to full-day hikes. You will also find suitable maps at any bookshop; the best ones are published by the IGN (National Geographic Institute) and Didier Richard.
A famous ski resort, l'Alpe d'Huez
A famous ski resort, l'Alpe d'Huez
  • In winter, skiing is a popular activity, which is unsurprising given the historically ski-friendly terrain; Grenoble hosted the Tenth Winter Olympic games in 1968. The nearest ski stations are only 45 min from Grenoble by car. Stations close to Grenoble include Autrans (1000 m up in the Vercors), Chamrousse (1700 m - 2200 m, in Belledonne). Avoid the two last two weeks of December, which are overcrowded at all ski stations and the most expensive of the year. During high season there are also several daily buses to big ski resorts such as Deux Alpes and Alpe d'Huez (1h30 minutes trip). Tickets can be bought at the Gare Routiere and they offer reductions when buying bus tickets and ski passes in combination. If skiing's not your thing but you still fancy a snowy outing, you might like to try snowshoeing- many centres around Grenoble offer half- or full-day excursions, ask at the Maison de la Montagne or the Maison du Tourisme.
  • Mountain lakes are a great place to visit during a hot summer day, to swim or just to admire the landscape. For example, the Lacs Robert and Lac Achard are one or two hours hike from Chamrousse. Several paths are available, some suitable for the whole family, others advised for adults only. Also, Annecy- a small, historic city on the edge of a beautiful lake, perfect for swimming- can be reached by train in 1h30 (up to 32 EUR return trip). Fishing in lakes and in some rivers is allowed, but (like everywhere else in France) a permit is required. For information about fishing, contact the local fishermen's union (French: Union des pêcheurs à la ligne. 8, rue Ampère, Grenoble, tel. (+33) 9 50 35 11 73, fax (+33) 4 76 49 02 17, e-mail:
  • Moucherotte mountain, the hardest (and best) way to see the town from above, for hikers willing to spend nearly a whole day. Go to Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte by car or regional bus (bus 5100), then follow the path to the top (you will start at 1000 m and go to 1900 m). The view of the town is stunning. A lot of people use this path on Sundays in Spring and Summer, so you're unlikely to get lost.
  • For more ideas visit the isere tourism board at: [32]


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 plays host to several Grandes Ecoles- engineering schools in physics, chemistry, electricity, computer science, and a business school. See I.N.P.G. [33] and U.J.F.- Grenoble [34]

French language courses are available at Alliance Francaise (engl.) [35].

The Polygone Scientifique contains the ESRF [36] light source (a circular building 270 metres wide, very easily visible from the Bastille) and the ILL [37] nuclear reactor (the blue windowless concrete pepper-pot near ESRF), as well as an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [38]; it is a particularly good place to do post-doctoral work in biochemistry. There is also the MINATEC [39] building, micro and nano technologies, visible from the Bastille.

  • If you are looking for a big commercial centre with chain-stores etc., consider Grand Place (tramway A direction Echirolles). Generally very crowded, especially at weekends.
  • For more "authentic" shopping, stop at Victor Hugo tramway station (tramway A or B). The tramway station is next to Place Grenette, which is the center of the town. This area is largely pedestrianized. Small, winding streets house many boutique-style shops, chain-store outlets, traditional French cafés and all the usual city centre paraphernalia.
  • The markets. There are several daily food markets in the city centre, for example at Sainte-Claire Les Halles (near the Cathedral) which has a covered food hall (housing cheese and butchers' stalls) as well as the outdoor fruit and vegetable market. The food is locally produced, cheap and indisputably wonderful. Watch out for the grape-stealing pigeons - a great favorite with children but detested by the stall-holders!


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 the local business school (GEM), it includes 300 pages covering restaurants, bars, culture, sport and nightlife. €2.50 from tabacs and bookshops in the city. The Petit Futé [40] series also offers a Grenoble guide, which has an extensive list of restaurants and other businesses.

You can find many good restaurants in the central part of the town, roughly between the Gare 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.

  • Cadet Rousselle, 3, rue Millet, tel. (+33) 4 76 46 02 24 has an excellent crêpe selection with prices for crêpes salés ranging from 4-9€.
  • Restaurant Kori Tika, 99, rue Saint Laurent, (+33) 4 76 42 63 04 Located across the Isère, a South American restaurant with main dishes ranging from 8-15€.
  • Les Alpages, 5 rue de Strasbourg, tel. (+33) 4 76 46 32 62 (fax (+33) 4 76 43 12 70). This is not a restaurant, but a world-renowned cheesemongery. Recommended if you want to discover any of their 1200 kinds of cheese, sourced from all over the world.
  • La Marie Morgane, 3 rue Frederic Taulier, tel (+33) 4 38 37 03 74. This restaurant serves traditional crepes from the Brittany region. Both savory and sweet crepes are served, with a plethora of toppings on offer. The restaurant also serves traditional cider. Not particularly regional, but very homey and the next-best thing if you're not actually going to Britanny.
  • Au P'tit Chouia, 14, rue Brocherie, tel (+33) 4 76 62 89 53 offers reasonably priced couscous, tajines, and other Oriental specialties.
  • La Fondue, 5 rue Brocherie, tel (+33) 4 76 15 20 72. Well known in the southeast of France and western Switzerland, fondue is a traditional dish during the wintertime. La Fondue restaurant serves traditional fondue (emmental and gruyere cheese) with mix ins as well as some non-traditional fondues (cheddar, for example).
  • Punjabi Dhaba 11 r Denfert Rochereau. Phone close to the Gare. Thought by many to be the best Indian restaurant in Grenoble, for when you need a break from Cheese and Crepes.
  • Boulangeries and Patisseries- these little bread and pastry bakeries not only have wonderful tarts and cakes, but they also sell small quiches, panini (grilled Italian sandwiches), and cold sandwiches. Grenoble is the walnut capital of France so look for small cakes (gateaux) with walnut cream, especially during the winter. Other specialties include Chartreuse (a herbal liquor traditionally made by the monks of Grande Chartreuse, a monastery high in the mountains about an hour from Grenoble).
Auberge Napoléon
Auberge Napoléon
  • Auberge Napoléon, 7 rue Montorge , Grenoble Tél. 04 76 87 53 64 , near the "jardin de ville"
  • Restaurant Les terrasses, Place Déesse Hygie , Uriage-les-Bains : Tél. (33) 4 76 89 10 80 ; Fax. (33) 4 76 89 04 62 ; [41] (Uriage-les-Bains, a small health resort 10 km from town hall of Grenoble)


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.

  • In the nearby city of Voiron (25 km north-west of Grenoble) are the Caves de la Chartreuse (tel. (33) 4 76 05 81 77), where the famous liqueur is made by the Carthusian Monks. It is claimed to be the largest liqueur cellar in the world. Free guided tours are provided, with a tasting session in the end. Opening hours are 9h-11h30 and 14h-18h30 (closes at 17h30 and weekends from November to April, no lunch break in July and August). See [42] for more information.
  • Camping Les 3 Pucelles, Tel: (33), [43] - For those who like to pitch a tent and pack out everything they've packed in.
  • Tulip Inn Hotel D'Angleterre, 5 Place Victor Hugo. With rates €59 and up, this hotel is a great budget option in the center of the city.
  • Hotel de l'Europe[44], 22 place Grenette, rates starting at 31€ for a single room. Well-kept hotel with friendly staff in the centre-ville.


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.

  • Hôtel Ibis Centre, 5 rue de Miribel, Les Trois Dauphins, Place Félix Poulat, (+33) 4 76 47 48 49, [45].
  • Hôtel Ibis Gare, 27 Quai Claude Bernard, (+33) 4 76 86 68 68, [46].
  • Hôtel Ibis Grenoble université, rue de la Condamine - Gières, (+33) 4 76 44 00 44, [47].
  • Hôtel Mercure Centre Alpotel, 12, Boulevard Maréchal Joffre, (+33) 4 76 87 88 41, [48].
  • Hôtel Mercure Grenoble Président, 11, rue Général Mangin, (+33) 4 76 56 26 56, [49].
  • Hôtel Europole , 29 rue Pierre Sémard, (+33) 4 76 49 51 52 [50] - a modern, comfortable space with WiFi available and good rates. Central location.
  • Hôtel Suisse et Bordeaux , 6 place de la gare (+33) 4 76 47 55 87 [51] - central location, good standard of service and comfort, and moderate prices. Great if you just want a nice place to rest.
  • Hôtel Bastille , 25 avenue Félix Viallet, (+33) 4 76 43 10 27 [52] - very decent prices, lovely views of the city, good service and comfortable rooms.
  • Park Hotel, [53], 10, Place Paul Mistral: Tel. +33 8 20 13 10 20 - Deluxe hotel, renowned for its professional service and old-fashioned charm. Located near a park with a path for jogging/biking. The well-regarded restaurant serves food all day until midnight.
  • Le Grand Hôtel, [54] , Place Déesse Hygie ; Uriage-les-Bains : Tél. (+33) 4 76 89 10 80 ; Fax. (+33) 4 76 89 04 62 ; (Uriage les Bains, a small health resort 10 km from Grenoble) - Excellent location with all modern comforts, if lacking a bit of charm. Attentive staff and a calm, quiet lobby with sporadic live piano music.

Stay safe

The Drac is a small river and may appear harmless, as water doesn't usually cover the whole bed. But the level of water may change quickly, especially when the dam upstream releases water. Be careful: six children aged eight and their teacher died in December 1995 when they were walking on the river-bed and the water rose suddenly.

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

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

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GRENOBLE, the ancient capital of the Dauphine in S.E. France, and now the chief town of the Isere department, 75 m. by rail from Lyons, 382 m. from Chambery and 851 m. from Gap. Pop. (1906), town, 58,641; commune, 73,022. It is one of the most beautifully situated, and also one of the most strongly fortified, cities in Europe. Built at a height of 702 ft. on both banks of the river Isere just above its junction with the Drac, the town occupies a considerable plain at the south-western end of the fertile Graisivaudan valley. To the north rise the mountains of the Grande Chartreuse, to the east the range of Belledonne, and to the south those of Taillefer and the Moucherotte, the higher summits of these ranges being partly covered with snow. From the Jardin de Ville and the quays of the banks of the Isere the summit of Mont Blanc itself is visible. The greater part of the town rises on the left bank of the Isere, which is bordered by broad quays. The older portion has the tortuous and narrow streets usual in towns that have been confined within fortifications, but in modern times these hindrances have been demolished. The newer portion of the town has wide thoroughfares and buildings of the modern French type, solid but not picturesque. The original town (of but small extent) was built on the right bank of the Isere at the southern foot of the Mont Rachais, now covered by a succession of fortresses that rise picturesquely on the slope of that hill to a very considerable height (885 ft. above the town).

Grenoble is the seat of a bishopric which was founded in the 4th century, and now comprises the department of the Isere - formerly a suffragan of Vienne it now forms part of the ecclesiastical province of Lyons. The most remarkable building in the town is the Palais de Justice, erected (late 15th century to 16th century) on the site of the old palace of the Parlement of the Dauphine. Opposite is the most noteworthy church of the city, that of St Andre (13th century), formerly the chapel of the dauphins of the Viennois: in it is the 17th century monument of Bayard (1476-1524), the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, which was removed hither in 1822; but it is uncertain whose bones are therein. The cathedral church of Notre Dame is a heavy building, dating in part from the 11th century. The church of St Laurent, on the right bank of the Isere, is the oldest in the city (11th century) and has a remarkable crypt, dating from Merovingian times. The town hall is a mainly modern building, constructed on the site of the palace of the dauphins, while the prefecture is entirely modern. The town library contains a considerable collection of paintings, mainly of the modern French school, but is more remarkable for its very rich collection of MSS. (7000) and printed books (250,000 vols.) which in great part belonged till 1793 to the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. The natural history museum houses rich collections of various kinds, which contain (inter alia) numerous geological specimens from the neighbouring districts of the Dauphine and Savoy. The university, revived in modern times after a long abeyance, occupies a modern building, as does also the hospital, though founded as far back as the 15th century. There are numerous societies in the town, including the Academie Delphinale (founded in 1772), and many charitable institutions.

The staple industry of Grenoble is the manufacture of kid gloves, most of the so-called gants Jouvin being made here - they are named after the reviver of the art, X. Jouvin (1800-1844). There are about 80 glove factories, which employ 18,50o persons (of whom 15,000 are women), the annual output being about 800,000 dozen pairs of gloves. Among other articles produced at Grenoble are artificial cements, liqueurs, straw hats and carved furniture.

Grenoble occupies the site of Cularo, a village of the Allobroges, which only became of importance when fortified by Diocletian and Maximian at the end of the 3rd century. Its present name is a corruption of Gratianopolis, a title assumed probably in honour of Gratian (4th century), who raised it to the rank of a civitas. After passing under the power of the Burgundians (c. 440) and the Franks (532) it became part of the kingdom of Provence (879-1032). On the break-up of that kingdom a long struggle for supremacy ensued between the bishops of the city and the counts of Albon, the latter finally winning the day in the 12th century, and taking the title of Dauphins of the Viennois in the 13th century. In 1349 Grenoble was ceded with the rest of the Dauphine to France, but retained various municipal privileges which had been granted by the dauphins to the town, originally by a charter of 1242. In 1562 it was sacked by the Protestants under the baron des Adrets, but in 1572 the firmness of its governor, Bertrand de Gordes, saved it from a repetition of the Massacre of St Bartholomew. In 1590 Lesdiguieres (1543-1626) took the town in the name of Henry IV., then still a Protestant, and during his long governorship (which lasted to his death) did much for it by the construction of fortifications, quays, &c. In 1788 the attempt of the king to weaken the power of the parlement of Grenoble (which, though strictly a judicial authority, had preserved traditions of independence, since the suspension of the states-general of the Dauphine in 1628) roused the people to arms, and the "day of the tiles" (7th of June 1788) is memorable for the defeat of the royal forces. In 1790, on the formation of the department of the Isere, Grenoble became its capital. Grenoble was the first important town to open its gates to Napoleon on his return from Elba (7th of March 1815), but a few months later (July) it was obliged to surrender to the Austrian army. Owing to its situation Grenoble was formerly much subject to floods, particularly in the case of the wild Drac. One of the worst took place in 1 219, while that of 1778 was known as the deluge de la Saint Crepin. Among the celebrities who have been born at Grenoble are Vaucanson (1709-1782), Mably (1709-1785), Condillac (1715-1780), Beyle, best known as Stendhal, his nom de guerre (1783-1842), Barnave (1761-1793) and Casimir Perier (1777-1832) See A. Prudhomme, Histoire de Grenoble (1888); X. Roux, La Corporation des gantiers de Grenoble (1887); H. Duhamel, Grenoble considers comme centre d'excursions (1902); J. Marion, Cartulaires de l'eglise cathedrale de Grenoble (Paris, 1869). (W. A. B. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun




  1. A city in the French Alps




Proper noun


  1. Grenoble (a city in the French Alps)

Derived terms

  • grenoblais

Simple English

Grenoble is a city in the south-east of France, in the Alps. It has about 156,000 inhabitants and is an important center for sciencistic research in France.

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