Before going to ski back in 2018, I’ve never heard of Grenoble. Shame on me. The city was home of the Winter Olympic Games in 1968, so no excuses for me. But since then, I went to the city three times, and I can say I am loving it more and more, plus “I know it as my pocket” okay just the central part but still enough.
The first time we went there we slept in a gorgeous AirBnb of a french lady, I wished I moved in that flat it had the most amazing kitchen and saloon sleeping premises. Situated in a very nice street, surrounded with pastry and coffee shops.
Well lets start with the arrival. The bus and the train station in Grenoble are basically on the same spot, just two different entrances. Most of the tickets is better to buy online, as there is hardly anyone there at the bus station. Also both the bus and the train station in Grenoble do not have lockers for your luggage. The solution: across the street there is a Best Western hotel and there you can store your belongings. They charge around 10euros, sometimes they try more but if you have good negotiating skills that is the price you will pay.
Of course that the city reminds a lot of Innsbruck, nice colorful houses split by the Isere river, and having the “eggs” cable car. On both sides of the river there wer plenty of coffee shops and restaurants and people leisurely enjoying their weekend. Even though Grenoble is 16th largest city in France it is not tiny at all. And in many of the corners it was reminding me of the french capital.
Since I’ve never spent more than 24hours in the city I am not very relevant for a proper itinerary, however the nicest places for me are the area around the river and the Championnet area. The historic center is also amazing, but of course everyone is anyways going to see it even if not recommended. And in case you are more of a park rather than river person, I recommend chilling with the locals around lunch time at the Victor Hugo square/park.
Breakfast, lunch, brunch? Endless bakeries and pastry shops, on saturday there are few open markets like the one next to the Saint Bruno cathedral, and there is amazing choice of north african dishes, everything look soo tasty, but as you know, french shops are very particular with their opening/lunch hours. I guess we need fourth visit for that. Another market is located in the Saint Claire market hall. Also both places are great spots for meeting the locals.
Nice brunch spots are Poppa and Tercera with beautiful interior but in very different style. Breakfast spot if you are not finding anything according your taste you can go to the good old Paul. Lunch spot can be Gwendoline which is also a wine bar. Or maybe one of the spots on the other side of the river to enjoy the sun, but there the menu was mostly italian.
What I also noticed is that Grenoble is a city of board games, comics shops, and bookstores so you dont need to bring an extra entertainment you can find it here.
Every time I like the city more and more and I am especially getting jealous when I am overhearing conversations of people that moved here because most of the ski centers are two hours drive. And I want that. Until then, Ill stop at every tiny street and stare at every mountain peek, big or small but most importantly cowered with snow.