Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Grenoble on a Perfect Winter Day

21

Grenoble Streets

Winter in Europe can be such a gamble.  While we arrived in the Rhône-Alpes region to a clear day in Lyon, we were soon bombarded with snow, slush, and freezing temperatures in both Lyon and Grenoble.  Despite three pairs of socks, my toes nearly froze clean off.

Thankfully, Grenoble has a number of museums, including the excellent Musée de Grenoble, with a wonderful collection of art.  I loved strolling through the collections — but wistfully wished I was out enjoying the clean mountain air.

But after that first day, we woke up to an Alpine winter day that was absolutely PERFECT.

Streets leading to the Alps

How could you not be excited with a view of the Alps like that?

Brunch at Le Diferent

The day began with brunch, as all relaxing Sundays should!  diFérent is a hip, artsy cafe in the heart of the city.  Brunch is expensive (my brunch complèt cost €16, or $21!), but it was SO delicious…and I love that it came served with multiple cheeses!  Oh, France.

We worked off those cheeses with a stroll through the nearby markets.  I love that clementines are so prevalent in the winter — they’re so refreshing.

Clementines!

We also passed some interesting street art.  I call this one Screamin’ Pope.

Screamin' Pope

But the piéce de résistance lay before us — we would be traveling to top of the Bastille by cable car!

I love those bubbles!

These bubble-like structures were some of the first cable cars intended for tourism, and today they’re one of Grenoble’s most famous symbols.  In 2011, they carried 300,000 people to the top!

We giggled as we rode upward, taking in the city. Then we got to the top — and this was the view:

View from the Bastille

It could not have been a more beautiful day.

The Bastille is a fort originally built in 1591, then reconstructed in the 19th century to fend off attacks from nearby Savoie.  (To this day, Savoyards consider themselves different from the rest of France, not unlike Bavarians in Germany or Catalonians in Spain.)

Today, though, it hardly bears any resemblance to a fort — with modern facilities, it seems more like a great place to have a wedding!

View from the Bastille

Here’s a fun fact: despite the fact that Grenoble is at the foot of the Alps, it’s actually one of the flattest cities in France!  It seems strange, but pictures like this make it clear.

We relaxed in the winter sunshine on the restaurant balcony, sipping coffees and hot chocolates, before taking the cable car back down.

On the way down the Cable Car

Getting photos from inside the bubble isn’t the easiest thing — there are no windows, and the cable cars are heavily tinted and covered in scratches.  This photo has been majorly cleaned up.

Grenoble River Views

Grenoble is that perfect size of a small city — parts of it feel quite urban, with lots of shops and office buildings and an excellent tram system connecting all over the city.  But parts of it feel quite country — little riverside markets with homemade cheeses, tiny restaurants where the owner knows all her customers.

And most importantly — prices are SO much lower than Paris!

Gardens in Grenoble

Winter may not be my favorite time of year — but on a sunny winter day in Grenoble, it’s impossible not to smile.

Essential Info: One-way/round-trip tickets in the cable car to the Bastille cost €4.95/7.15 ($6.50/9.50).  The paths up are paved, but be careful in the winter — the snow might not be cleared.

Many thanks to Rhône-Alpes Tourisme and Magellan PR for hosting me in Grenoble.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

 

Comments

21 Responses to “Grenoble on a Perfect Winter Day”
  1. Jessica says:

    Gorgeous photos, as always! I particularly love the one that you cleaned up a lot. Excellent job. Was that using Lightroom?

  2. Julika says:

    Somehow the only association I had with Grenoble was inspired by my French text book from school – a few blurry, unattractive photos taken in the 90ies… Thanks to you these impressions have just been majorly revised! Grenoble looks beautiful!

  3. Gaelyn says:

    I’d rather visit when a little warmer but looks intriguing and that view is spectacular.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Grenoble actually reminds me a lot of Salburg! Quaint architecture on a backdrop of natural beauty like mountains and the river. Do you agree?

    Your last photo is absolutely beautiful, so clear!

  5. AudreyD. says:

    Grenoble really seems like a charming town to visit! You make me dream of France this morning! :) the view is quite spectacular.

  6. kle says:

    I Love the pictures, the scenery is breath taking! such a shame i didn’t visit France when i was living on the italian border! I’ve never been to Paris either. Shame on me for that! :)

  7. Sofie says:

    Lovely pictures.
    Grenoble seems like the perfect city to explore on a sunny winterday.
    Although I also prefer summer for exploring just about anythng :D

  8. Shaun says:

    Man what a view of the Alps! And that contrast of a flat city vs mountain backdrop! Tres magnifique!

  9. Matt says:

    Great post Kate!

    At first glance, your second photo looks eerily similar to a photo of mine that I took in Paris. http://www.matthewrae.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Paris-1-of-1-14.jpg Interesting to see the similarities in architecture between two different cities.. and to find very similar photos. Either way, keep it up!

  10. Wow – I had no idea this was what Grenoble was like. What a perfect winter day! Lovely!

  11. Great post Kate :)
    We have decided to go to Europe in late 2014/2015 Your blog is as always a great source of info!!
    Can’t wait!
    And thanks for the ideas :)

  12. I just moved really close to Grenoble! I’m in Chambery which is in the Alps as well, and this makes me really nervous for winter! :/ Really great pictures, though!

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