It’s a no-brainer really. Grenoble Life wants your comments about favourite things to see, do, eat and drink in Grenoble and its surroundings.
I have been asked by French Entrée to write a post on what to do and see in Grenoble. Upon tackling this in earnest I found myself baulking at the task. An increasingly poorly written list began with a walk to the Bastille, continuing through the various museums to barely legible mentions of the more attractive squares in the old town. Then, I thought, rather than regurgitating the generic Grenoble itinerary, I thought I would solicit a more idiosyncratic list of Grenoblois pleasures, open to suggestions from YOU. What and where do you like to eat, where do you drink and people-watch? Tell me about your favourite local walks, markets, parks, neighbourhoods.
Here is my idiosyncratic inventory of Grenoble favourites, a by-no-means-comprehensive list of reasons to be cheerful. I’m sorry if this heralds few surprises and all seems a bit generic … please use the comments box for your personal lists below.
- ‘Glacier Gonzales’ (Rue Servan). As good as ice cream gets, in my view.
- Driving along the Voie Sur Berge, with its colourful diaporama of the Quai opposite, reminds me of the climax of The Italian Job, even if my Citroën Saxo is not a Mini Cooper and I’m in the wrong country.
- Cycling the banks of the Isère, with its generous network of lanes.
- The crazy geometric paving stones on the University campus. Far out!
- The crumbling beauty of the St Laurent district.
- Drinking kirs and people watching on Place St André (aka Place du Trib) in the summer.
- Sitting on the sofas at the musée de Grenoble when it’s quiet, which it usually is.
- Tartes and hot chocolate at ‘Tarteline’ (Grande Rue).
- Fromage blanc at the dairy farm at Charmant Som, with bilberry coulis.
- Fondue at ‘A Confesse’ in St Laurent
- Parmigiana at ‘Ciao a Te’ (Rue de la Paix)
- Pizza in general. But if I am to be perfectly honest, my favourite pizzas come from a camionette in Montbonnot rather than one of the many along the Quai or elsewhere in Grenoble itself. However, it is my contention that you can find a good pizza more easily in Grenoble than in the tourist hot-spots in Italy itself.
- The tram. Being on the tram makes me happy, even it doesn’t go anywhere near my home. Watching it glide onto campus or snake through the old town makes me misty-eyed with pride and affection for my adopted home town.
- Bastille Day fireworks at Parc Paul Mistral.
- Being able to watch a football match at the Stade des Alpes and then stroll back into town for a beer. Even if the standard of football from the home side has been appalling this season.
- La Nef and Le Club. Old school cinemas with dependable art house programmes.
- Gratin dauphinois when it is freshly made (i.e., not resurrected after deep-freeze hibernation). To my memory, the best I’ve had in a restaurant was at the ‘Café des Alpes’ on the way up to Le Sappey ski resort.
- La Fête de la Musique. A nationwide event, admittedly, but one that impressed upon me something about the French. In England such an event could not happen without copious amounts of drink and drugs, and thus a heavy police presence – a sentiment echoed in Lucy Wadham’s The Secret Life of France (a book well worth reading by the way).
- The old town. I was surprised when I came to Grenoble how many French people – Grenoblois or not – were dismissive about the city, saying it wasn’t beautiful. It may not have great monuments of individual interest but I like the character of the old town and its attractive squares. You can give me this over the British high street, with its identikit shopping precincts, any day.
- The white-capped Belledonne massif, providing its luminous theatre scenery to the city.
Ok, your turn …