We talk to Bienvenue Grenoble, a new organisation that offers a range of activities aimed at helping newcomers feel welcome in Grenoble.
Grenoble Life : What is Bienvenue Grenoble?
Bienvenue: At Bienvenue we think we live in a wonderful area and we would like to share it with people arriving here. We are not a relocation agency so after they have found a place to stay, they have done all the paperwork at the préfecture and have sent the kids to school, we wish to help them discover the French way of life, know more about the Dauphiné history and landscape, and get a real taste for this part of France. We organize outings, guided tours, workshops (cooking, wine tasting …), French language classes, job-search coaching, and we even have a programme of partnership with French families. We wish to develop new projects so we are open to new ideas and suggestions from our members.
GL : Who are the people behind Bienvenue Grenoble?
Bienvenue: The association was created by a small group of Dauphinoises. Dominique (a former English teacher), Gaëlle (a young mother of two and an engineer) and Mylène (traveller and video editor) are the founding members of the association.
GL : When and why was it set up?
Bienvenue: It was set a year ago because there seemed to be a need for activities and services selected by local people who know the city and its surroundings quite well, most of the organizations for expatriates being run by other expatriates. We offer an alternative to the present situation in Grenoble.
GL : What is the profile of the people coming to you for help?
Bienvenue: The people coming to us for help are mostly professionals and their partners, coming from all over the world, who want to settle in rapidly. Learning the language is the first step and getting to know how to “do as the Grenoblois do” is a second step. It takes just a little courage to do so but it’s worth it. We are still a young organization but the feedback has been very positive.
GL : In your view, what makes Grenoble a great city for expats and foreign students?
Bienvenue: The whole world meets in Grenoble. It’s a multicultural city. It is a great place for sports. It’s one of the rare cities in France where in certain months of the year you can see cars carrying skis, kitesurf boards, bikes and sailboards (in April and November, for example). The mountains are wonderful in winter and the summertime. Grenoble is also a wonderful place if you like to go out at night (bars, cinema, and theatre).
For more information please visit the website: www.bienvenue-grenoble.com