My name is Ceci and I lived in Grenoble, France for ten months.
Grenoble can best be described in these five words: diverse, friendly, scenic, budget-friendly, and safe.
Women should consider visiting Grenoble because it is a safe travel destination, is much more diverse than other European cities, and is a relaxing city.
If you want to get away for a while, relax, and take in some scenry while being in a safe, international environment, Grenoble should be next on your bucket list…
How do you get to Grenoble?
There are a few ways to get to Grenoble…
- Fly to Lyon, France and then take a one hour train to Grenoble;
- Fly to Paris and take a three-hour train; or
- Fly to Geneva, Switzerland and take a two-hour train.
What’s the best way to get around Grenoble?
The best way to get around Grenoble is without a doubt the tramway. It’s cheap, fast, and runs late. The same passes for the tramway work on the buses too.
What’s the best time to visit Grenoble?
The best time to visit Grenoble depends. If you love winter sports, visit any time between December and February. If you prefer warmer weather, May through September is best.
What are the different areas of Grenoble?
Grenoble itself is quite small but is surrounded by several suburbs: Fontaine, Meylan, La Tronche, Gières, Saint-Martin-d’Hères, Eybens, Échirolles, Pont-de-Claix, and Seyssinet-Pariset.
The suburbs are largely similar to suburbs in the United States with schools, large supermarkets, and community theaters.
The majority of the city’s universities are in Saint Martin d’Hères, while the indoor shopping mall is in Échirolles.
All of the suburbs are serviced by the city’s tramway and bus system.
What advice can you give women about what to pack?
Pack layers! Grenoble can go from cold in the morning, to hot in the afternoon, to freezing in the evening. If you’re going in winter, be sure to bring clothes suitable for snow—the city gets a LOT of snow.
Grenoble may be high above the equator, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get bright. Be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses if your trip is in summer or autumn.
What is the most common misconception about Grenoble?
Grenoble isn’t just a sleepy city in the mountains. While Grenoble may seem quiet and unassuming, the reality is far from that.
It has a rich historical background, is a center for cutting-edge scientific research, has headquarters for multiple multinational companies, and has some of France’s top universities. There’s a wealth of things to do, both outdoors and indoors.
Is there a gender divide in Grenoble?
Women travelers don’t need to worry about any gender divides in Grenoble. Women are treated fairly, equitably, and with (dare I say it!) chivalry. It is a perfect spot for solo travel.
Are there any culture shocks women should expect in Grenoble?
Women should expect to not be able to get by without some basic French skills. The important thing, however, is to appear to make an effort—quite a large number of Grenoblois speak rudimentary English and love when foreigners attempt French first.
What’s the most over-rated thing to do in Grenoble?
The most over-rated thing to do in Grenoble is to go up to the Bastille. Yes, it has the best view of the city, but going there and taking photos automatically marks you as a tourist. Walking around Old Town is a much more fun (and less touristy) activity.
What’s the most traditional meal that every woman should try in Grenoble?
Gratin dauphinois is not only a traditional French dish, but also a regional specialty. It’s made with thinly sliced potatoes cooked in cream, garlic, and sometimes cheese.
What’s your favorite restaurant AND bar in Grenoble?
My favorite bar in Grenoble is Le Tord Boyaud. It’s a wine bar, specializing in fruit flavored wines. A glass is €2,50 and a bottle is €12. They also have beer, liqueurs, martinis, and flaming drinks.
I don’t have a favorite restaurant in Grenoble…there’s too many great places to choose from! If I had to pick a “top three” I would choose Restaurant Punjabi Dhaba, Le Saigon, and So Krep.
Where’s the best photo opportunity?
The best photo opportunity in Grenoble is from the Bastille. You can walk up to the Bastille or ride in the bubble-shaped cable cars up to the fort.
Where’s the best place to go shopping?
My favorite shopping was during Christmas season, when the Marché de Noël was set up. Unfortunately, Marché de Noël is only available in December, so if you’re looking for gifts or souvenirs I’d recommend wandering around Old Town in Grenoble proper. There are all sorts of little boutiques in the wandering alleys and back streets.
What’s the best outdoor activity in Grenoble?
Hiking, picnicking, and snow related activities are the best outdoor activities in Grenoble. You can’t help but want to be outdoors—and even better, there are TONS of opportunities close by to hike, picnic, ski, snowboard, and whatever else your heart desires.
What’s the best indoor activity in Grenoble?
Indoor ice skating is definitely my favorite indoor activity in Grenoble. Skates are included in ticket prices, making it a great bargain for a hour or two of fun with friends. If you’re an absolute beginner, don’t worry! There are plenty of others who will be too.
What do you do to get off the tourist trail?
There isn’t a tourist trail in Grenoble—honest! Grenoble is a quiet little city. You can sit at a café and read without looking like a tourist. Awesome, right?
What other advice or tips can you give women considering visiting Grenoble?
Visit the village of Vizille. It’s perfect for an afternoon picnic and the chateau park is about as large as that of Versailles without all the crowds!
What did you think about this city guide?
Join the discussion and leave your comments, tips, and personal experiences in the comments below.