Grenoble informationGrenoble (Grenoblo) is a city located in south-eastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the River Drac joins the Isère. Grenoble is the capital of the department Isère, in the Rhône-Alpes region. The present name of the city is derived from Gratianopolis (4th century), given in honour of the Roman Emperor Gratian. After being occupied by the Arabs in the 9th century, the town passed into the hands of the counts of Albon.
Grenoble has a history more than 2,000 years long. The city became the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century. It experienced a period of economic expansion in the 19th and 20th century. The X Olympic Winter Games were held there in 1968. The city is now a significant scientific centre in Europe.
According to the 2008 census, the population of the city of Grenoble amounted to 156,659 while, at the same time, the population of the Grenoble urban area amounted to 495,429. The population of the Grenoble metropolitan area according to the 2008 census was 664,832 residents.
Grenoble locationThe coordinates: 45°C 12’01’’N 5°43’20’’E
Grenoble is considered the capital of the French Alps. The city is surrounded by several mountain ranges: the Charteuse in the north, the Vercors in the south and west and the Belledonne range in the east. Grenoble is regarded as the capital of the French Alps.
Grenoble is built on the alluvial plain of the Isère River and the Drac River at an altitude of 214 metres (702 ft). The city has become a renowned sports centre attracting numerous tourists both in summer and winter. Twenty large and small ski resorts surround the city, the nearest being Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, which is about 15 minutes' drive distant.
In the past Grenoble and the surrounding areas were sites of mining and heavy industry. Abandoned mines and factories can be found in small towns and villages, such as the coal mine at La Mure.
The weather in Grenoble has big seasonal and daily changes. The summer days are mostly warm with temperatures up to 20-26°C , but in summer, temperatures can drop below 10°C during the night time. When the winter comes, the mountains around Grenoble are covered in snow, and you can also expect temperatures below zero in the city area. The skiing season in the resorts near Grenoble lasts from late November to early April. For all kind of summer activities the best time to visit Grenoble is from May to September, making the city a year-round destination.
Grenoble historyAt the site of the city there had existed Cularo - a little Gallic village, founded by the Allobroge tribe at the Isere River in 43 BC. A strong wall was built around the small town in 286 AD.
The Emperor Gratian visited Cularo and as a sign of gratitude to the warm welcome of the villagers, he proclaimed the village a Roman city. The place was renamed Gratianopolis (“city of Gratian”) in 381; Graignovol during the Middle Ages and later Grenoble.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city was part of the first Burgundian kingdom in the 5th century and the second Burgundian Kingdom of Arles until 1032, when it was integrated into the Holy Roman Empire.
Grenoble grew significantly in the 11th century during the rule of the Counts of Albon, who chose the city as the capital of their territories.
The only Dauphin who really governed this province was Louis XI, whose reign lasted from 1447 to 1456. It was under the rule of Louis XI that Dauphiné joined the Kingdom of France.
At that time, Grenoble was a crossroads between Vienne, Geneva, Italy, and Savoy. It was the industrial centre of the Dauphiné and the biggest city of the province.
In 1790, the Dauphiné was divided into three departments, and Grenoble became the capital of the Isere Department. The city was renamed Grelibre and took back its real name only under Napoleon. In the 19th century, Grenoble developed into a significant industrial town, known for the glove factories, whose production reached the Golden Age at that time. Their products were exported to the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia.
During the Second Empire, the region saw the construction of its railway network and the first trains arrived at Grenoble in 1858.
During World War I Grenoble developed the armaments industry and new hydro powers were constructed alongside the various rivers of the region. In the surrounding area chemical factories were also established.
During World War II, the Nazi invasion was stopped near Grenoble at Voreppe by the forces of General Cartier in June 1940. The French forces resisted until the armistice. Grenoble submitted to Italian occupation from 1942 till 1943.
Grenoble was extremely active in the movement of Résistance against the occupation. In September 1943, German troops occupied Grenoble. After the Normandy landing, resistance operations became more violent, with numerous attacks considerably blocking activities of German troops. On 5 November 1944, General Charles de Gaulle came to Grenoble and proclaimed the city the “Compagnon de la Libération“ in order to recognise the heroic resistance of its residents during the war. In 1968, Grenoble was a host to the Xth Olympic Winter Games. The city was modernized for this event, the Town Hall and new infrastructures were built. An airport and modern motorways were of particular importance for the city. New ski resorts were built in the surroundings.
Grenoble tourist attractionsThere are many attractive landmarks in the city very popular with numerous tourists coming here on holidays or just visiting the town.
The Bastille is an ancient series of fortifications, located on the mountainside overlooking Grenoble, visible from many parts of the city. The Bastille is one of Grenoble's most visited tourist attractions offering magnificent view on the town below and on the surrounding mountains. Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné.
This palace was constructed about 1500 and extended in 1539. It was the location of the Parliament of Dauphiné until the French Revolution. Then it became a courthouse until 2002.
The Museum of Grenoble hosts 200,000 visitors a year. This renowned museum boasts with a rich collection of paintings that comprises many periods in art history, including Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities.
Archaeological Museum of Saint-Laurent
Archaeological museum is located in the 12th c Benedictine Church at Saint-Laurent Square. Collections are partly created from the archaeological excavations done on the site, belonging to the 3rd century AD. Situated on the right bank of the River Isère, the museum presents long periods of art history ranging to the origins of Christianity.
Grenoble hosts several festivals: the Grenoble Jazz Festival in March, the Open Air Short Film Festival in early July, and the Cabaret Frappé Music Festival at the end of July.
The Summum is the biggest concert hall in Grenoble. Many famous artists perform in this hall. Another big hall, Le Grand Angle, is located nearby in Voiron. There are also smaller halls in the city.
The main cultural centre of the city is called MC2 (Maison de la Culture, version 2), which hosts music, theater and dance performances.
There are several theatres in Grenoble, the principal theatre being Grenoble Municipal Theatre. There are two main art centres in Grenoble: the National Centre of Contemporary Art (also called Le Magasin) and the Centre d'art Bastille.