Grenoble is the prefecture and largest city of the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France. The city advertises itself as the “Capital of the Alps”, due to its size and its proximity to the mountains. 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, Fontaine and Voiron.
|Mayor (2020–2026)||Éric Piolle|
|Area||18.13 km2 (7.00 sq mi)|
|Density||8,700/km2 (23,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
The city has grown to be one of Europe’s most important research, technology and innovation centres, with one in five inhabitants working directly in these fields.
Under the Köppen system, Grenoble has an oceanic climate. In spite of being classified as maritime, Grenoble contains significant seasonal differences between the warm to hot summers and the cool to cold winters.
Urbanism and architecture
The Bouchayer-Viallet site is a powerful symbol of Grenoble’s industrial past. This former factory is now converted into a dual-purpose area more closely linked to the Berriat neighbourhood. Innovative business activities as Apple Inc. co-exist with housing, sporting facilities, contemporary music venue and arts centres as Le Magasin. At the entrance to the Bouchayer-Viallet site, Square des Fusillés has been redeveloped and extended taking over an old car park, to facilitate access from the tramway stop and Cours Berriat.
A shopping mall contains 53 shops arranged around an inner concourse, with one side opening onto the park and the other connecting to the town.
The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications on the mountainside, overlooks Grenoble on the northern side and is visible from many points in the city. The Bastille is one of Grenoble’s most visited tourist attractions and provides a good vantage point over both the town below and the surrounding mountains.
At the top are two restaurants and installed in the casemates of the fort itself since June 2006, the Bastille Art Centre allows visitors to see contemporary art exhibitions. There is also a small military museum on mountain troops (Musée des troupes de montagne) and, since 2000, a memorial to the mountain troops (Mémorial national des troupes de montagne) further along the road, on top of the hill.
Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné
This renaissance palace was constructed at the Place Saint André around 1500 and extended in 1539.
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.
Museum of Grenoble
The city’s most prized museum, the Museum of Grenoble (Musée de Grenoble), welcomes 200,000 visitors a year. It is primarily renowned for its extensive paintings collection, which covers all artistic evolutions.
The museum also presents a few Egyptian antiquities as well as Greek and Roman artifacts.
Situated on the right bank of the Isère, on Place Saint-Laurent, the Grenoble Archaeological Museum presents the archaeological excavations done on its location.
The Musée de l’Ancien Évêché is the second archaeological museum of the city, and located near the Grenoble Cathedral. Installed in 1998, it houses the first baptistery of the city
The Grenoble townhall hosts a bust of Stendhal by sculptor Pierre Charles Lenoir
Education and science
The large community of both foreign students and foreign researchers prompted the creation of an international school. The Cité Scolaire Internationale Europole (CSI Europole) was formerly housed within the Lycée Stendhal. In the centre of the city, two schools have provided education to the isérois for more than three centuries. The oldest one, the Lycée Stendhal, was founded as a Jesuit College. An astronomical and astrological sundial created in the main building of the college in 1673 can still be visited today. The second-oldest higher education establishment of Grenoble is the Lycée Champollion.
Science and engineering
Grenoble is a major scientific centre, especially in the fields of physics, computer science, and applied mathematics: Universite Joseph Fourier (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.
Meanwhile, Grenoble has large laboratories related to space and to the understanding and observation of the universe as the Institut de radioastronomie millimétrique, the Institut de planétologie et d’astrophysique de Grenoble etc.
In order to foster this technological cluster university institutions and research organizations united to create the GIANT (Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies) Campus with the aim at becoming one of the world’s top campuses in research, higher education, and high tech.
Knowledge and innovation community
Grenoble is one of the co-location centres of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities for sustainable energy.
Grenoble hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics. The city is surrounded by ski resorts nestled in the surrounding mountains. Stade Lesdiguières is located in Grenoble and has been the venue for international rugby league and rugby union games.
The abundance of natural sites around Grenoble as well as the particular influence of mountaineering practices and history make many Grenoble inhabitants very fond of sports and outdoor activities (e.g., hiking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and paragliding). The Tour de France cycling race regularly passes through the city.
A comprehensive bus and tram service operates 26 bus routes and five tram lines. It serves much of greater Grenoble, while a new cable car system known as the Métrocâble is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Being essentially flat, Grenoble is also a bicycle-friendly city.
The Gare de Grenoble is served by the TGV rail network, with frequent high-speed services (3 hours) to and from Paris-Gare de Lyon, usually with a stop at Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport.
Grenoble can be accessed by air from Grenoble-Isère Airport, Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport and Geneva International Airport, with the airport bus connections being most frequent to Lyon Saint-Exupéry.
Grenoble hosts several festivals: the Détours de Babel in March, the Open Air Short Film Festival in early July, and the Cabaret Frappé music festival at the end of July.
The Summum is the biggest concert hall in Grenoble, and the most famous artists produce there.
The main cultural center of the city is called MC2 (for Maison de la culture, version 2), which hosts music, theater, and dance performances.
There are several theaters in Grenoble, the main one being Grenoble Municipal Theatre (Théatre de Grenoble). Others are the Théâtre de Création, the Théâtre Prémol, and the Théâtre 145. Grenoble also hosts Upstage Productions, which performs once a year through an exclusively English speaking troupe.
There are two main art centres in Grenoble: the Centre national d’Art contemporain (also called Le Magasin) and the Centre d’art Bastille.