Grenoble, France: 10 places to see

10 main attractions in Grenoble

Grenoble

The city of Grenoble is nestled in a valley at the foot of the majestic mountain ranges of the French Alps – Vercor, Beldon and Chartreuse. But the significance of the city is much more than just a staging post on the way to the high mountains. It is a historical, cultural and scientific center, as its attractions eloquently testify.

Fort Bastille

View from Fort Bastille

Grenoble’s calling card stands on a mountain directly opposite the Old Town, the historic central district. This is the famous Bastille Fortress (La Forteresse De La Bastille). This rock has been used for centuries as an excellent observation post to guard the valley from the enemy. And now on it you can see the watchtower built in the 16th century.

In the mid-19th century even built a fort on the mountain, but fortunately it was not attacked. Much later, in 1944, it was subjected to an air attack, but it was not significantly damaged.

Part of the premises of Fort Bastille converted into halls for various events, opened two restaurants, the Museum of mountain troops (Le musée des Troupes de Montagne), an entertainment obstacle course for children.

You can visit the fort free of charge. The cost of the ticket to the Museum of mountain troops is 3 €. Opening hours: from 11:00 to 18:00.

Funicular Teleferik

Funicular

You can climb to the top of Fort Bastille on foot, but most tourists and residents of Grenoble prefer to use the cable car. The funicular was first installed in 1934, which served to popularize the Bastille as an attraction. The view of the city is magnificent, and in good weather you can even see Mont Blanc.

The current spherical booths replaced the previous conventional ones in 1976. Since then, the original funicular has become a permanent focal point for photography and an emblem of the city. Locals fondly call them “bubbles”.

Cable car hours vary greatly depending on the season and day of the week, but most often you can go up from 9:15 to midnight. The exact schedule can be downloaded at the end of this article.

The round-trip ticket costs 8.60 € and one-way ticket costs 5.80 €.

Archaeological Museum

A settlement in the cozy valley of Grenoble existed even before our era. Therefore one of the most interesting sights of the city can safely be called its Archaeological Museum (Musée archéologique Saint-Laurent). The remains of the first settlement discovered by archaeologists were left in their place, and a museum was built over them.

The museum can be visited from Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 18:00. Admission is free.

Grenoble Museum

Grenoble Museum

The local art museum of Grenoble is called the Museum of Grenoble. It has a good collection of paintings from all key periods: Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, Canaletto, Rubens, ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, Greek statues and much more.

Opening hours from 10:00 to 18:30, Tuesday is the day off. Tickets cost 8 €, up to 18 years free of charge.

The museum is located in a modern building, but it has an old building worth seeing. This is the Tower of Tour de l’Isle – the only surviving part of the fortifications of the city, built in 1374. This tower can be seen for free, if it has an exhibition, then with a ticket to the museum.

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Museum of the Old Baptistery and Notre Dame

Walking through the Old Town, you are sure to find yourself on Notre Dame Square. In the center of the square there is a delightful fountain Fontaine des trois ordres. The temple complex of Notre Dame includes the nearby bishop’s house, which now houses the Museum of the Old Baptistery.

The history of the cathedral has 1700 years and the architecture is more reminiscent of the Italian than Gothic. You can get acquainted with the rituals of early Christians on a tour of the Museum of the Old Baptistery, where you can not only see a model of the first buildings, but also the remains of the first baptismal font, found during excavations in the basement of the building.

The museum has a Russian audio guide and admission is free. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-18:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-18:00, Wed 13:00-18:00.

Dauphinois Museum

Another very interesting and free museum is located in the former monastery of Ste-Marie-d’en-Haut, built in the 17th century. Dauphiné is the historical name of the region of Grenoble, and the exposition of this museum tells about the life and culture of local residents.

Especially interesting may be the exhibition devoted to the development of skiing. What were the skis of the past centuries and what did the first Olympic athletes perform on? Find out at the Musée Dauphinois.

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekends to 7 p.m., closed on Tuesday.

Château de Viziers

Chateau de Ville

If you associate France steadily with castles for you, you won’t be disappointed in Grenoble. In the nearby suburbs, you can visit a lovely 17th-century manor house, the Château de Vizille. Inside you can explore the interiors and the Museum of the French Revolution.

Around the castle there is a garden in which deer and peacocks walk freely, ducks and swans swim in the lake. This is a great place for a walk.

Entrance to the park and to the castle is free.

You can take bus 65 from Grand Place station. Opening hours are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Tuesday is a day off.

Chateau de Sasnage

Another beautiful 17th-century chateau just outside the center of Grenoble is the Château de Sassenage. The carefully preserved interiors of the palace represent the reign of Louis XIII. The wallpaper from the late 18th century, antique woodwork and moldings, as well as paintings and family portraits are all here as they were then.

The garden of the castle was reconstructed in the 19th century and is very suitable for leisurely walks in the shade of tall trees.

Ticket prices: 8-10 € depending on high or low season, 6 € for children under 18.

To get to the Château de Sasnage, take streetcar A towards La Poya from Grenoble Centre, change to a bus no. 20 and go another 5 stops.

Cave Sasnage

Not far from the Sasnage estate you can find a unique geological phenomenon. If you like caves, underground rivers, waterfalls and legends about mermaids, then you must visit the Sasnazh Cave.

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There is a picturesque forest trail to the entrance to the grotto, and there are places for picnics. To visit the cave is better to bring a jacket.

Tickets cost 8 €, children 5 €.

Industrial Museums

It may seem that these days Grenoble is mainly a tourist city. But in fact it is the location of Europe’s largest nuclear development center CEA and the research center of Hewlett-Packard. It was also an important scientific and industrial center in the 20th century. To commemorate the discoveries made in the Dauphiné lands, there are science museums in Grenoble:

  • Museum of Chemistry
  • The Museum of Industrial Innovation
  • Museum of Viscose (yes, artificial silk was invented by a local chemist)
  • Museum of Informatics

The latter is worth a visit to feel yourself in a retro movie about space and the future. Of course, these small museums are not rich in audio guides in Russian, but you can take pictures with the giant computers of the last century or the first laptop computer without a tour.

Heading to the Alps, many tourists pass Grenoble. But you now know that passing through this wonderful city is an unforgivable mistake. Be sure to devote at least a couple of days to exploring Grenoble.

16 Best Sights in Grenoble

Grenoble sights.

Grenoble boasts not only unique nature, but also stunning architecture; this is not surprising since the history of this ancient city goes back more than 2000 years. The incredibly creative atmosphere that reigns here also captivates; there are a host of world-class art galleries waiting to take you to Grenoble.

Majestic mountains, lush greenery of manicured city parks, fascinating old architecture, plenty of interesting museums and art galleries: that’s Grenoble. What’s the first thing to see in the city? It is up to you to decide, but we will try to help you.

Musée de Grenoble

Grenoble Museum

Museum of Grenoble.

For connoisseurs of European art a visit to this museum is a great opportunity to “get lost” for a day.

The exhibits on display there are evenly divided into different historical eras: here you will find both antique figurines from Ancient Egypt and Greece, and works by modern artists.

The bulk of the museum’s exhibits are works of European art, ranging from medieval religious paintings to an impressive collection of works by 20th century painting luminaries such as Bonnard, Ernst, Léger, Magritte, Miró, Modigliani and Sutin.

Of great interest to visitors are the delightful landscapes of the province of Dauphiné of the 19th century and the painting of the Annunciation, painted in 1638-1639 by the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán.

And the magnificent building of the museum, filled with light, opened in 1994, can safely be called a Grenoble landmark.

Address: Musée de Grenoble, Place de Lavalette, Grenoble, France.

Fort Bastille

View from Fort Bastille

View from Fort Bastille. | Photo: Guilhem Vellut / Flickr.

The reward for a quick and fascinating ascent by cable car or a long and somewhat tedious ascent on a path steeply going up is a magnificent panorama opening from the Fort Bastille you have reached.

This Grenoble fortress was built in the first half of the XIX century to protect the city and control the alpine border.

On the observation deck of the Bastille there are colorful interactive displays telling you in French and English what you are looking at at the moment.

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On clear days from the observation deck of the fortress you can see not only the mountain range Vercor, but also the snowy peak of Mont Blanc.

Address: Fort de La Bastille, Grenoble, France.

Dauphinet Museum

Museum Dauphiné

Dauphinet Museum.

This ever-evolving museum, located above the River Isère on the hillside just below the Bastille, in a seventeenth-century convent building, reveals to visitors the centuries-old history of the region. The exhibits in the museum give you an insight into the life, culture and traditions of the people of the Dauphiné province.

From medieval armour to three-dimensional genealogical trees presented as works of modern art, you are sure to find something of interest in this impressive collection, especially since the exhibitions are constantly changing.

It is not uncommon to see exhibitions devoted to the sport of skiing.

Address: Musée Dauphinois, Rue Maurice Gignoux, Grenoble, France.

Museum of the Mountain Army

Museum of the Highland Army

Museum of Mountain Troops.

Although the Musée de Troupe de Montagne is highly specialized, none of the visitors, even those who come here by chance, regret wasting their time. The museum is dedicated to the elite battalions of Alpine riflemen created in France in 1888.

The display of military equipment and uniforms is considerably enlivened by the audio guide, which, in one of four languages, tells not only about the exhibits on view at the time but also about the Resistance movement during World War II.

If you visit the museum, you will also learn about the contemporary life of the French army’s mountain unit.

Address: Musée des Troupes de montagne, Grenoble, France.

The Resistance and Deportation Museum

Museum of Resistance and Deportation

Museum of Resistance and Deportation.

This museum is dedicated to the sorrowful pages of the history of the city and the entire country – World War II.

The exhibits of the museum, the captions to which are duplicated in English and German, tell the story of the determined resistance of the inhabitants of Grenoble to the Italian and then German troops.

A new exhibition has recently been opened showing the fate of thousands of local Jews, including 80 children sent to Nazi camps.

Address: Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de l’Isère, rue Hébert, Grenoble, France.

Le Magasin

Le Magasin

Le Magasin.

About 2 km west of the city center this glass and concrete building, built by Gustave Eiffel, was previously a warehouse and has now become one of the leading centers of contemporary art in France.

Many of its temporary exhibitions have been specifically designed for this space.

Le Magasin, Esplanade Andry Farcy, Éireannoble, France.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral.

It is a relatively modest, yet elegant pink-brick building that houses Grenoble’s cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Grenoble was built in the 1200s, but its interior was decorated in Gothic style in later centuries. By the way, there was once a 4th-century church on the site of the cathedral.

Tiptoe down to the dilapidated baptistery and you’ll see the walls of the original church, built by the Romans.

Address: Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Place Notre Dame, Grenoble, France.

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Stendhal Museum.

Stendhal Museum

Stendhal Museum.

This humble museum is dedicated to the work of the author of “Red and Black”. Here are exhibited personal correspondence, lithographs, sculptures and other things directly related to the life and work of Stendhal.

The museum is housed in the restored apartment of Dr. Gagnon, the writer’s maternal grandfather.

Address: Musée Stendhal, Grande Rue, Grenoble, France.

Church of Saint Louis

Church of Saint Louis

Church of Saint Louis.

Consecrated in 1699, the Church of Saint Louis looks austere and even a little austere on the outside. Its interior is less laconic. Inside, around the altar, you’ll find seven stunning paintings depicting scenes from the life of Jesus.

The address is Eglise Saint Louis, Rue Félix Poulat, Grenoble, France.

Parc de Paul Mistral

Parc de la Paul Mistral

Parc de Paul Mistral.

Grenoble’s Parc Paul Mistral is a lush green oasis in the center of the city. In this idyllic place you will forget about the noise of the modern city and the daily stresses.

Filled with life and children’s laughter, the 67 acres of parkland offer endless opportunities for entertainment – you can go rollerblading, take part in a board game tournament, play field hockey, handball or Frisbee.

It’s not uncommon to stroll through the quiet alleys of the park and find yoga or tai chi classes, knitting classes, and tango classes.

In the middle of the park stands the Perret Tower, built in 1925, the main attraction of the place. At night, when the façade of the tower is illuminated by twinkling lights, the view is very romantic. In general, the park is very popular with couples in love who want to take a walk under the stars.

Parc Paul Mistral houses the City Hall of Grenoble.

Address: Parc Paul Mistral, Boulevard Jean Pain, Grenoble, France.

Grenoble-Bastille cable car

Cableway

Aerial tramway.

The spherical cabins of this cable car, opened in 1934, have been transporting people from the center of Grenoble to the fortress of Bastille for years.

The cable car is almost as famous as the fortress itself: to ride on it, tourists flock to the city almost from all over France. From her transparent cabins, people call “bubbles”, you can admire the river Isere and the beautiful Alpine scenery, and on clear days in your field of vision will be even the tip of Mont Blanc.

The aerial expedition in the transparent “bubble” of the world’s first urban cable car will surely be remembered for many years.

Address: Téléphérique Grenoble-Bastille, Quai Stéphane Jay, Grenoble, France.

Archeological Museum

Archeological Museum

Archaeological Museum.

2000 year old Grenoble is simply full of history and stories and this amazing museum is the perfect place to start your journey back in time.

The Archaeological Museum of Grenoble is located right on the banks of the River Isère in the 12th century church of Saint-Laurent. Many of its exhibits were excavated right here, on the very spot where the museum stands.

Allow yourself to be transported back in time with authentic artefacts and ancient rarities.

Address: Musée Archéologique Grenoble Saint-Laurent, Place Saint-Laurent, Grenoble, France.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum.

Are you tired of the abundance of art and cultural attractions in this fabulously creative city? No problem – a visit to the Museum of Natural History is a great alternative.

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You will be amazed at the magnificence of all that is on display in this wonderful museum. Its interactive exhibits and the opportunity to not only look, but also touch everything you see will transport you right into the world of wild alpine nature. В

The rarest and most beautiful plants and animals, which have made this region a natural paradise, are on display. The collection of precious stones and minerals is also astonishingly diverse.

The stunning neoclassical building that houses the Natural History Museum is a sight in itself, and the aquarium within is a constant source of excitement for nature lovers.

One of the museum’s highlights is the nearby Botanical Gardens. 20,000 square meters of lush greenery with greenhouses, conservatories and flowerbeds give you the chance to see plants that are rare in this region.

Address: Natural History Museum, Rue Dolomieu, Grenoble, France.

Sassenage Caves

Sassenage Caves

Sassenage Caves.

Head to the Grenoble suburb of Sassenage, a 10-minute drive from the city, to discover the fascinating world of underground caves.

A tour of the caves will give you the opportunity to admire how the planet we live on has been shaped and changed over millions of years and to be amazed by the power and splendor of nature.

This “journey to the center of the Earth” promises you an encounter with many natural wonders and an unforgettable experience.

Address: Grotte les Cuves de Sassenage, Grotte les Cuves, Sassenage, France.

The Ancient Bishopric Museum

Ancient Bishopric Museum

Museum of the Ancient Bishopric.

Museum L’Ancien-Eves, which means “Museum of the ancient bishopric” in French, is located in the building of the former bishop’s residence, built in the 1200s – hence its name.

Now housed in the sumptuous interiors of this ancient palace is a collection of exhibits tracing the history of the region from prehistory to the present day.

You can also see some of the oldest architecture in Grenoble. Don’t miss the engineering skills of the ancient Romans who built the city’s defensive walls in the 3rd century.

You also have a rare opportunity to visit the baptistery, which dates back to the 4th century. In addition to regular guided tours the museum offers interactive lessons and other activities for children.

Address: Musée de l’Ancien Évêché, Rue Très Cloîtres, Grenoble, France.

Jardin des Ville Urban Gardens

Jardin de Ville Urban Garden

Jardin de Ville Urban Garden | Photo: Vinicius Pinheiro / Flickr.

This elegant garden, bordering the Old Town, was once the private property of the Dukes of Lediguers.

It became a public park in 1710. The impressive seventeenth-century mansion on the grounds was also formerly the property of the Dukes of Lédiguyer and is now home to the Association des Relations Internationales, which promotes cultural exchanges with other countries.

Jardin de Ville, with its bright rose gardens and French flowerbeds, has a special charm.

When the weather is nice, locals like to relax on its lawns. It’s a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

During the summertime, the Jardin de Ville hosts many events.

Address: Jardin de Ville, Jardin de Ville, Grenoble, France.

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