5 green reasons for visiting Grenoble

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Alps - Mont BlancNature and Outdoor ActivitiesCitiesWith FamilyCouples

Vue panoramique sur Grenoble depuis la colline de la Bastille.
© Lucas Frangella / Grenoble Alpes Métropole - Vue panoramique sur Grenoble depuis la colline de la Bastille.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 10 April 2024, updated on 22 April 2024

As the gateway to the Alps, the city of Grenoble is nestled on the borders of three mountain ranges. Crossed by a river (the Isère), surrounded by green hills and high mountains, Grenoble is deeply concerned about its impact on the environment: nature is in its DNA! Sporty, innovative and committed, the people of Grenoble have made their city a veritable laboratory of French "green" cities. This identity has been recognised at the European level, as Grenoble has been designated "European green capital 2022". And to honour this distinction, it has no shortage of arguments!

1. A city in the heart of the mountains

"At the end of every street, a mountain". Born in Grenoble, the French writer Stendhal, author of the novel The Red and the Black, summed up the city in a few words. Here, the mountain is in the spotlight from every window, every balcony. The Chartreuse to the north, the Vercors to the west, and the Belledonne massif to the south: the peaks are everywhere you look. The city is surrounded by forts that dominate it from the surrounding hills, notably the Fort de la Bastille, which overlooks the Isère and the pretty, colourful facades of the Saint-Laurent district, and the Fort Saint-Eynard, from which one can admire a 360° view of the Alpine city and its surroundings. Host city of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games, Grenoble is less than an hour away from many winter sports resorts. Here, winter and summer alike, the mountains run in the veins! It is no coincidence that the first urban cable car in France, the famous "bubbles" that climb the hill of the Bastille, was built in 1934: the people of Grenoble always have an eye for the summits!

Grenoble Bastille cable car

2. A green city, really green

Situé au cœur de Grenoble avec une vue magnifique sur la colline de la Bastille, le Jardin de Ville est l'endroit idéal pour un pique-nique en famille ou entre amis.
© CRM - Situé au cœur de Grenoble avec une vue magnifique sur la colline de la Bastille, le Jardin de Ville est l'endroit idéal pour un pique-nique en famille ou entre amis.

Listen: it's a blue tit! In the heart of Grenoble, passerines sing at every street corner. From the city's Garden, to the lawns adorned with flamboyant rosebushes, to the wilder Ile Verte park, via the banks of the Isère, nature is omnipresent and forms large islands of greenery, which are very pleasant to breathe in the heart of this vibrant metropolis. Look up there: a squirrel crosses the road from the treetops, so nimble on the rope stretched for this purpose! With more than 5,000 trees planted in recent years, numerous developments that promote biodiversity, and brand new eco-neighbourhoods and others that set the standard (France's first eco-neighbourhood was inaugurated in 2009 in the former Bonne barracks), Grenoble is one of the greenest cities in the country.

3. A city by bike

Balade en vélo sur le centre historique de Grenoble.
© Nils Louna / Grenoble Alpes Tourisme - Balade en vélo sur le centre historique de Grenoble.

Surrounded by mountains, in the middle of a valley, Grenoble is one of the flattest cities in France. With 450 km of cycle paths throughout the agglomeration, it is a cyclist's paradise! For almost 20 years now, the city has had a system of short-term rental bicycles called Mvélo+, which attracts students and tourists alike. These yellow bicycles, which can be found everywhere in the city, can be rented by the day (€3) or by the month (€25). On the main avenues, in the narrow streets of the historic centre, on the quays or in the parks, there are plenty of facilities for cyclists to ride in complete peace: the bicycle really does have its place in traffic. Reassuring!

Grenoble à vélo

5. A sporty city

Les environs de Grenoble sont un terrain de jeu prisé des amateurs d'escalade et de via ferrata.
© Ville de Grenoble - Les environs de Grenoble sont un terrain de jeu prisé des amateurs d'escalade et de via ferrata.

In winter, you can see them on skis, fresh from the surrounding winter sports resorts. In summer, they are on ropes, going on via ferrata or climbing cliffs. For the people of Grenoble, outdoor sports is a way of life! All year round, the Bastille hill sees runners who set off to tackle its 214-metre difference in height through the Guy Pape park, along a shady path dotted with flights of stairs. You reach the arrival station of the "bubbles", from where you can admire the panorama of the Vercors and Belledonne while catching your breath. Both indoors and outdoors (the first climbing gym in France was built here in 1995!), Grenoble is a city on the move!

For more information: -Grenoble Alps Tourism -Isere Alps

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