Grenoble – Capital of Alps (France)

Grenoble – Capital of Alps (France)

Grenoble is 105 km distant from Lyon. Grenoble can be reached by train TER from Lyon (Part Dieu train station) or by TGV from Paris (Gare de Lyon, or Lyon train station). It takes 1.5 and 3 hours, respectively. It’s also possible to get to Grenoble by bus from Lyon; it takes about 1 hour.

The history of the city begins in 380, under the Roman Empire. Visiting cards of Grenoble are Bastille (a rather picturesque hill with a series of fortifications), fountains which may be founded almost at every step, very sympathetic trams also contributing to the creation of the city’s special cosy atmosphere, and the funicular (French call it téléphérique and they insist that the notions “téléphérique” and “funicular” mean differently but I never did decipher that difference).

Grenoble – Capital of Alps (France)

Grenoble is situated in the heart of Alps. That’s why it’s often called a capital of French Alps. Grenoble is a center of the department Isère and the historical region Dauphiné. It lies in the confluence of the rivers Isère and Drac. It’s surrounded by mountains from 3 sides: the mountain range Chartreuse with the peak Chamechaude (2082 m) on the north; Verkor with the peak Moucherorotte (1901 m) on the west and Belledonne with the peak Le Grand Pic de Belledonne (2977 m) on the east. About 20 ski stations are situated in immediate proximity to the city. The closest one is located in Sappey-en-Chartreuse. In fact, all those points are more suitable for beginners. Maybe it’s the reason why they are quite popular among the inhabitants of Grenoble. In 1968 the city held the 10th Winter Olympic Games.

The hill Bastille with the similar 19th-century fortress – the symbol of the city – is the sight attracting most tourists to Grenoble. The observation point is located on the very top of the hill. In order to enjoy the remarkable view, visitors may use the funicular which will elevate them directly to the top in several minutes. The marvelous panorama of the city, mountains situated next to it and the River Isère open from its glass spherical cabins. You can also overcome that distance by climbing uphill. But fans of climbing should bear in mind that it’s a rather tiresome and time-consuming way to reach the top. If you want to enjoy that 30-40 minutes’ descending, wear comfortable sport shoes and don’t forget to look around.

Grenoble – Capital of Alps (France)

Grenoble is rich in architectural relics erected in different epochs. Visitors may view the remains of the Roman walls built in 286-293 there. One of the oldest existing churches – Saint-Laurent church with a crypt (a kind of a Christian burying) built in XI century – is situated just near the fort Bastille. Together with the Saint-Laurent church, the Court Palace and the Notre-Dame Cathedral may be reckoned among the monuments of the Middle Ages. In addition, visitors can admire a number of Renaissance buildings in the ancient part of the city. The Old Town occupies a rather small territory by the river Isère. One of the most significant sights which may be found there is a Place Saint-André with the similar XIIIth-century church and The XVth-century Palace of Justice. You can also visit the museum of Stendhal situated just in the neighbourhood, on the Place de Gordes. The famous writer was born in Grenoble and spent his childhood there.

The Musée de Grenoble is also located on the bank of the river Isère. Opened in 1921, it was among the first art museums in France. The museum has the original architecture – it is embedded into a mountain. The exposition is disposed on 2 levels; it occupies among 2, 000 square kilometres. More than 1500 masterpieces are displayed there: painted and sculptured works, Egyptian antiquities and Greek and Roman archeology, as well as displays on science and technology. The art collection includes Monet, Matisse, Delacroix, Gauguin Picasso, Ernst, Warhol, Chagall, Rubens, Miro, and Kandinsky.

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