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From green tumblers of Chartreuse to creamy Reblochon cheese, you can feast on a rainbow of fresh produce in Grenoble at any time of year. The gateway to the French Alps has more to offer than just winter sports: it's also known for its gastronomy, art scene and industrial suburbs turned eco districts. A student population of over 45,000 fuels the energetic nightlife.
In a Grenoble hostel you could be treated to a four poster bed and a hearty breakfast, or bring a group of friends and book an apartment complete with kitchenette. All hostels in Grenoble have free Wi-Fi: ideal for snapping up last minute tickets for La Belle Électrique, Grenoble's flashy new concert hall. Private rooms are widely available and you'll find air con is standard too.
Place Notre-Dame is the historic centre of the city. Hop between typical French cafés down cobbled lanes leading to Place Saint-André and the luxurious 16th-century parliament building. A short walk south, the architecture changes as you enter Quartier Bouchayer-Viallet. This former industrial district was transformed by Le Magasin (centre for the arts) and La Belle Électrique concert hall. To truly experience the pioneering spirit of Grenoble, head to Quartier de Bonne, also known as Écoquartier de Bonne. France's first eco neighbourhood is home to fish ponds, parks and sustainably built shopping centres.
A trip on the cable car takes you up to the popular sight of Fort de la Bastille. From the fort you can see Grenoble and the surrounding national parks. At Sainte-Cécile convent, now housing a publishing house, you can browse the vast collection of 20,000 comics. Pick up a feast at Halles Ste-Claire food market, although you'll have a more authentic experience among the stalls of Marché de l'Estacade in an outlying neighbourhood. Keep an eye out for Grenoble's unusual vending machines too. They've been dispensing free literature to commuters since 2015.
Grenoble's Alpes-Isère Airport is only open during the winter ski season so most visitors arrive by train, or fly into Geneva or Lyon, both one to two hours' bus ride from Grenoble. If you're arriving into Gare de Grenoble (Grenoble Train Station), it's connected to the city centre by tram lines A and B. The city's excellent tram system runs until late at night but if you're keen to embrace Grenoble's green habits, pick up a city bike and get peddling.