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Searching for the best things to do in Grenoble, France? You’ve come to the right place!
Back in the day, when I was a young, early twenty-something, I actually lived in Grenoble for a time! The first big trip I had ever taken was to France where I would study abroad for a semester, live in Grenoble, and travel the continent.
I quickly fell in love with the city as soon as I hopped off the train and noticed it was surrounded by mountains. I learned to ski here, and I enjoyed frolicking in many areas around the city. So when it comes to the best places to visit in Grenoble, I’ve got you covered.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the top things to do in Grenoble for the perfect trip!
17 Best Things to do in Grenoble in France
From Grenoble attractions to day trips, these are hands down the top Grenoble things to do for your weekend getaway.
This is easily one of the top things to see in Grenoble, France, and you can spot it from all over the city!
The Bastille is a fortress that sits in the mountains at 1,561 ft (476 m) high. It was built in 1592 to protect the city, and it was well-positioned to prevent attacks thanks to its surrounding typography.
Today, the Bastille is the biggest tourist attraction in Grenoble. It sees over 325,000 visitors each year. Aside from the incredible fort itself, the hill offers some of the most magnificent views of the mountains and city.
For those who want to get a workout in, you can hike up to the Bastille, which is quite a challenge as it is quite steep!
However, you can also drive up from La Tronche, or you can take the cable car up!
2. Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car
Speaking of the Bastille and how to get to it, the Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car is the most popular mode of transportation to the fortress. Inaugurated in 1934, its claim to fame is being one of the oldest urban cable cars in the world.
This cable car is also known as “Les Bulles” or “The Bubbles.” The cable car station is located right next to the Jardin de Ville, and it takes you over the Isere River.
Admire the views of the city, the famed street called Cours Jean-Jaures, and the mountains before ending your journey in these bubbles at the Bastille.
The cable car costs €9 round-trip or €6 for a one-way ticket for adults. For children 5-15, people over 75, job-seekers, and disabled people it costs €4.80 round-trip and €3.40 for a single ride. Students can pay €6.10 round-trip or €4.30 one way, and dogs can ride for €2.10.
3. Catch a Game at Stade des Alpes
The Stade des Alpes is a football (soccer for the American readers here!) and rugby stadium and is home to the Grenoble Foot 38 football club and the FC Grenoble rugby team.
So if you’re a fan of either sport, this is a great place to watch a game!
4. Parc Paul Mistral
If you’re visiting the Stade des Alpes, you’ll certainly spot the Parc Paul Mistral too! This is Grenoble’s largest park with 21 hectares of land- perfect for a fun picnic!
It is where you’ll find the Stade des Alpes, Palais des Sports, as well as the city hall. You can also wander in the park to spot the Perret tower, an observation tower in the middle of the park, play minigolf and even visit the outdoor speed skating rink, which is where they hosted the speed skating games during the 1968 Winter Olympics.
5. Jardin de Ville
Located next to the cable car for the Bastille, Jardin de Ville is one of the prettiest parks in Grenoble. You have great views of the Bastille and the Isere River, plus you have charming buildings on the other side of the garden.
There is a lot of green space for relaxing on a sunny day, and it’s just a great place for a picnic and perhaps to split a bottle of local wine.
6. Dauphinois Museum
This museum is in the Sisters of the Visitation’s Convent, perched along the slopes of the Bastille.
This museum is dedicated to the culture, customs, archaeology, and history of the Dauphine region. So to learn more about the area, this is a great place to start. Also, the former monastery is absolutely gorgeous to stroll through, including its garden, cloisters, and chapel.
You can also visit this museum for free! It is open Monday-Friday (except on Tuesdays and certain holidays) from 10 am-6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-7 pm.
7. Archaeological Museum
Not too far from the Dauphinois Museum, this museum was built over a Gallo-Roman necropolis. Inside is a crypt from the 6th century.
Many artifacts have been found here including pottery, coins, and other items. This is definitely one of the hidden gem things to see in Grenoble, France!
This is another great free museum and is open every day except on Tuesday from 10 am-6 pm.
8. Museum of Grenoble
After admiring the artifacts and learning about the history of the region at the two museums mentioned above, why not check out the Museum of Grenoble?
This museum houses the fine arts of the city. The museum began after the French Revolution when citizens of Grenoble banned together to save the works taken during that time.
Now you can admire all kinds of artwork ranging from antiquities to modern and contemporary pieces.
The museum is open every day except Tuesdays from 10 am to 6:30 pm. It costs €8 for full price tickets and €5 for a reduced price. For a guided tour, it costs €5. The museum is also free for people under 26, job seekers, people with disabilities, veterans, and other qualified people.
9. Walking Along the Isere River is One of the Top Things to do in Grenoble, FR
The Isere River flows through the city, with the main part of the city on one side and the mountains and Bastille on the other side. There is also the confluence of the Isere and Drac Rivers just before it reaches Grenoble.
Walking along the river is a must-do in Grenoble, as it allows you the chance to admire the architecture of both sides of the city. You also get stunning views of the mountains and the Bastille.
As you walk, definitely cross the Saint-Laurent Footbridge, a pedestrian-only suspension bridge with origins dating back to Roman times. Of course, the current bridge only dates back to 1837, but it is said to be built on the same spot as the first Roman bridge there as well as a stone bridge from the Middle Ages, all of which were destroyed by floods.
Today, though, the suspension bridge offers stunning views of the area and is definitely a romantic place to see in Grenoble.
10. For a Tasty Grenoble Activity: Grab Pizza in Saint-Laurent
Easily one of the top things to see in Grenoble is the Saint-Laurent neighborhood! Located along the Isere River below the Bastille, this neighborhood has gorgeous colorful buildings, charming cobblestone streets, and several…Italian restaurants?
I was surprised by this too during my time in Grenoble. But when you think about it, Italy isn’t that far away. In fact, you could be at the Italian border in under 2 hours by car. Plus, this area is known as the Italian district of Grenoble.
And after feasting on delicious French food, if you want a change of pace, you have to get pizza in the Saint-Laurent neighborhood.
Some pizza places to check out include La Toscana – Ristorante & Pizzeria, Restaurant-Pizzeria Notte E Di, and Pizzeria Il Vaporetto.
11. Visit the Old Town of Grenoble
The Old Town (Vieille Ville) of Grenoble is a fun place to wander. First of all, the buildings are so charming. There are also so many cute squares tucked away.
Plus, there are ample bars, restaurants, and more to enjoy during a night on the town. Visit Place Victor Hugo, built where a former bastion and military barracks once stood, and has a lovely fountain in the middle of the park.
Place Victor Hugo is also where you’ll find the Grenoble Christmas Market around the holiday season!
This area is also where you’ll find ample stores including the Galeries Layfette department store.
You could spend quite a bit of time just wandering around the old city!
12. Visit Eglise Saint-Louis
One of the most prominent churches in Grenoble, the Eglise Saint-Louis is also located in the Vieille Ville part of the city. It was built between 1689 and 1699 and has many beautiful stained glass windows as well as many religious artworks.
If you enjoy visiting cathedrals and churches in European cities, then this is definitely a top thing to do in Grenoble for you!
13. Eating All the Delicious French Cuisine is one of the Best Grenoble Activities
I’ll admit that I certainly put on a bit of weight during my time in Grenoble. With all the amazing boulangeries, patisseries, and hearty alpine restaurants nearby, I was spoiled for choice when it came to where to eat.
For starters, a place I loved was Pain & Cie. They have delicious bread and you can get it with all kinds of spreads including jam, butter, and even homemade hazelnut chocolate spread. Guys, they even made a white chocolate version.
I also loved La Ferme a Dede, a place serving up traditional French food and lots of tasty alpine classics like tartiflette, raclette, and fondue Savoyarde. Heaven.
Le Bistro Savoyard also has delicious cheesy alpine fare, and honestly, you can’t beat just about any bakery or pastry shop in France in general.
14. Best Thing to do Near Grenoble: Go Skiing!
If you plan to visit Grenoble in winter, then this is a must! There are ample ski resorts nearby, so you’ll never run out of great ski opportunities while you’re here.
During my time in Grenoble, I didn’t know how to ski and quickly learned as it is a favorite weekend activity for everyone in the city.
While you could drive to nearby ski resorts, you can also catch a bus from the train station for the day!
Some great resorts to check out include Les Deux Alpes, Alpes d’Huez, and Les Sept Laux. Timetables for the bus can be found here and be sure to book online early!
Ski to your heart’s content in just a fun day trip from Grenoble!
15. Go Hiking Near Grenoble in the Summer
Aside from hiking up to the Bastille, there are ample hiking opportunities near Grenoble in the summertime. Some great hikes include Mont Jalla- Mont Rachais Loop, Confluent Ebron- Drac Loop From Chardeau, and Lac Lauvitel Loop.
There really is something for anyone whether you’re hiking with the family, want a challenging day hike, or just want a casual stroll.
16. Visit the Many Alpine Lakes Nearby
As you already know, Grenoble is surrounded by the gorgeous Alps. But that also means that the city is not too far from many stunning alpine lakes.
In the warmer months of the year, there is something about hopping in a car and driving to a stunning lake for the day. Some lakes nearby to check out include Lake Laffrey, Lake Paladru, and Lake of Aiguebelette.
You can go swimming, enjoy paddling, or even just relax along the shores. The Lake of Aiguebelette even has islands in the lake and charming boathouses!
17. Take Incredible Day Trips From Grenoble
While Grenoble is definitely a large enough city to spend a good amount of time in, there are tons of other day trip options to explore the nearby area!
I personally love spending a day in Annecy! Whether you visit Annecy in winter or summer, it is a stunning city that sits along an alpine lake. The Old City is endlessly charming, and you can’t miss the canals!
Another great day trip is to go to Lyon. The gastronomic capital of France is well worth a visit, and you’ll love learning about the history of the city.
For a more relaxing day trip, head to Aix-les-Bains for its many spas, and for more mountain views, definitely head to Chamonix. Admire Mont Blanc and take the cable cars up to Aiguille du Midi for the most breathtaking views of the Alps.
These are definitely the best things to do around Grenoble!
Where to Stay in Grenoble
To complete your Grenoble travel guide, you have to know where to stay! Here are some great hotels to stay at:
Budget: Hotel d’Angleterre
This boutique hotel faces Place Victor Hugo and is in the heart of the old part of the city. They have spacious rooms and starting at under $80 a night, it is a steal!
Mid-Range: Grand Hotel Grenoble
With beautiful modern rooms, a fun hotel bar serving up great cocktails and wines, and in a great location, you can’t go wrong with this romantic hotel. Prices start at around $100 per night.
Mid-Range: Park Hotel Grenoble- MGallery
Next to Parc Paul Minstral, this hotel has lovely rooms, a great bar/lounge area, and is in a good location for exploring. Prices start at around $120 per night.
Best Time to Visit Grenoble, France
Honestly, there really isn’t a bad time to visit Grenoble! While most places in France do see a huge uptick in tourism in the summer months, Grenoble’s main tourist season is actually the winter, thanks to its close proximity to ample ski resorts.
While winters can be cold and a bit snowy in the city, it rarely stays below freezing. Be sure to pack many warmer clothes during the winter, and ski clothes for hitting the slopes!
Summers can get quite hot, especially during July and August, but you have long sunny days perfect for early summertime hikes and then swimming in a lake after!
But as Grenoble isn’t a huge international tourist destination in general, you’ll find prices reasonable year-round!
As far as weather, for comfortable temperatures for hiking and exploring the city, opt for September-October and April-June.
Getting to Grenoble and Getting Around
While Grenoble does have an airport nearby, called Alpes-Isere Airport, it is only in operation seasonally for the winter months. So unless you happen to be visiting from select European cities in winter, you likely can’t fly here directly.
However, you can fly to either Paris, Lyon, or Geneva and take the train in. From Paris, it is about a 3-hour train ride (or 4-5 hours from the Paris airport station). From Lyon, it is about an hour away, and from Geneva, it is about 2.5 hours away.
Check flight prices on Skyscanner!
Once you get to Grenoble, it is a pretty walkable city. They also have a tram system for getting around longer distances in the city.
That’s it for this ultimate Grenoble travel guide! I hope you enjoy the best things to do in Grenoble, France!
Which thing would you most like to experience?
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