Grenoble: best things to do and see

upd 12 March 2024

Grenoble is a city in the southeastern part of France, surrounded by mountains. A lot of people stop by in Grenoble on their way to ski resorts, and there are definitely many places worth a visit. The city has preserved medieval churches, the Bastille and historical buildings. Most of the interesting places are concentrated in the center, so everything can be seen in one day.

Settlements on the site of modern Grenoble appeared many centuries ago. Then the city was part of the Roman Empire and was called Gratianople. The territory became part of France only in the 14th century and became the capital of the province of Dauphine. Being located not far from Italy and the Savoy territories, Grenoble more than once became the site of battles, so a special fortress was built for defense – the Bastille, which has survived to this day.

Places you should visit

Place Saint-Andre

You should start your walk from the Old Town, where all the most interesting things are located. One of the tourist attraction points is San Andre Square with a fountain and a monument to Knight Bayard.

Saint-Andre church

On the square is the Church of San Andre, built in the 13th century. It was once the tomb of Andre Dauphin, but it was destroyed by Protestants during the Reformation.

The oldest city clock is preserved on the church. The interior is minimalist, which is typical of the Romanesque style, however, it retains a special historical atmosphere, so it is worth going inside.


The main streets abut the embankment of the Isère River. The promenade looks a little abandoned, despite its potential to be the most beautiful place in Grenoble and a promenade with mountain views. Higher in the mountains you can see another landmark – the Bastille.

Catedral de Notre Dame

The main church in Grenoble is the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was first mentioned in the 4th century, then it was rebuilt in the 13th and 19th centuries. The lower part of the cathedral is built of limestone, and the upper part is made of brick. During the reconstruction in the 19th century, it was decided to “decorate” the cathedral with new decorative elements, which looked very controversial on a medieval temple. Now its appearance has been brought as close as possible to its original form.

The interior is also minimalist, but the stained glass windows, made in a very unusual style, are very beautiful.

Place Grenette

Place Grenette was once a shopping area, but is now a very cozy square with cafes and shops in historical buildings.

Jardin de Ville

A small garden with fountains in front of the former town hall, which now hosts art exhibitions.

Halle Sainte-Claire

Halle Sainte-Claire is an historical market in a beautiful building. There are similar city markets in other French cities, for example, in Dijon.


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Parc Paul Mistral

Parc Paul Mistral is a quite a large park with beautiful views of the mountains. The area was once a military training ground, but was rebuilt for the Electric Power and Tourism Exhibition in 1925. Then sports facilities and the city hall appeared in the park.

Saint-Roch cemetery

Saint-Roch cemetery territory was a place of ancient Gallo-Roman burials. Then there was a medieval cemetery, much bigger than a modern cemetery, and ancient burials are still being found during construction.


Musée de Grenoble

Grenoble is an art museum with a very impressive collection, including antiquities and modern art.

Archaeological Museum

Saint-Laurent Archaeological museum is located in Saint-Laurent Church. Most of the archaelogical findings that made up the museum’s exposition were found here. The most amazing of them is the underground chapel of the 10th century.

Wiki / Commons

Musée Dauphinois

The exhibition occupies a former monastery and tells the history of the province of Dauphine, including household items and decorative arts. On the territory of the monastery there are also two churches with ancient frescoes.

Hector Berlioz museum

In the center there is a monument to the composer Hector Berlioz, who was born near Grenoble – in Meylan. Berlioz lived for some time in the city itself; a museum is dedicated to him here (69, rue de la République).

Outside the center

Fort de la Bastille

The already mentioned Bastille fortress, which can be seen in the mountains in clear weather, is a must-see. You go to the top by cable car, by car, or on foot. By the way, the Grenoble funicular was one of the first funiculars in the world. The Bastille was built in the Middle Ages, but has been rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century. The fortress was a strategic point in the defense of France from the Sardinian kingdom.

The mountain offers a panoramic view of the Alps and the surrounding area, but it will not be visible if the mountain is covered in fog, which happens quite often.

Fort du Saint-Eynard

From the Bastille the road goes to another defensive structure – Fort du Saint-Eynard. The fortress with impressive weapons was built in the 19th century and successfully performed a defensive function. Now there is a view restaurant and an observation deck with beautiful scenery, because the fort is located at the very top at an altitude of 1338 meters. It is convenient to get to it by car.

Wiki / Commons

Ski resorts


It was at this resort that the Olympics were once held, and now it is one of the most popular Grenoble ski spots. There are trails of varying difficulty, the season lasts from December to October. Chamrousse is part of the Belledonne mountain range and is its highest peak with an altitude of 1700 m.


Chartreuse is not only a ski resort, but also a natural park where you can come in any season. Both alpine and cross-country skiing are practiced here.

Les Sept Laux

Three villages in the Belledonne mountain range, consisting of 120 kilometers of mountain slopes. An excellent option to try alpine and cross-country skiing and test slopes of varying difficulty.

Flickr / marc.desbordes

Les Deux Alpes

The most famous station, located 70 kilometers from Grenoble. It is very popular because, unlike other places, there is snow all year round.

How to get to Grenoble

Grenoble has excellent transport links with neighboring French and European cities.

To Lyon, Geneva, Milan, Berne, Chambery, Annecy is the cheapest and easiest way get there by Flixbus.

Lyon-Grenoble – 3 hours travel; Geneva-Grenoble – 2.5 hours; Milan-Grenoble – 6 hours.

It has its own airport, but it is usually cheaper to fly to the nearest major cities: Lyon and Geneva, as low-cost airlines fly to them, and then get there by bus.

Where to stay

Grenoble has a fairly large selection of accommodation. The city is small, so you can easily stay in the center or in close proximity to all the interesting places. There are hostels for budget travelers. The best option is Le Hüb hostel.

For those looking for optimal value for money, good hotels in the center are suitable: ResidHotel Grenette or Okko Hotels.