Grenoble

Grenoble

This capital of the French Alps is perched between three alpine mountain ranges: the Belledonne, Chartreuse and Vercours. "At the end of every road, there is a mountain…" said Stendhal, the 19th century French writer (author of The Red and the Black) who came from Grenoble. Paradoxically, Grenoble is actually the flattest city in France. With its 60,000 students, the city has a young, dynamic feel and a vibrant nightlife. It's also a sporty place, and having been host city for the Winter Olympics in 1968 it continues to be a haven for winter sports.
Grenoble and follow in Stendhal's footsteps: explore the historic city centre, his apartment, Dr Gagnon's house, the old Jesuit college and the Stendhal museum. Have a stroll round the Place Notre Dame, and check out the Cathedral and the old Parliamentary Palace of the Dauphiné.

It's time to try some of the local cuisine: head for a traditional restaurant in Grenoble. Nibble on some of the walnuts from the area, perhaps try some Chartreuse liqueur, and above all don't miss the delicious local speciality gratin dauphinois: a warming dish of potatoes cooked with cream and garlic. Grenoble is not far from the Italian border, and you'll find numerous Italian restaurants here.

From atop the ancient military fort perched 498 metres (1,633 feet) above the town you can enjoy the most fantastic view over the entire area. If you don't feel like climbing all the way up there, fear not, for a cable car is at hand.

The Grenoble museum holds one of the most prestigious collections of paintings in Europe and is in fact the oldest modern art museum in France.
Or catch an exhibitionat the contemporary art gallery and multimedia arts centre, Le Magasin - National Centre of Contemporary Art. If you're intruigued by the history of skiing and of the area, the Dauphinois Museum is a mine of information. Grenoble is intrinsically linked with skiing and all kinds of winter sports, with Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux-Alpes, Villard-de-Lans being the major ski resorts nearby.

The city also holds numerous festivals, such as Grenoble Jazz Festival, the 38e Rugissants Festival, one of the first European festivals dedicated to new musical creation, which sees 50,000 people gather in Grenoble every year.

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