Grenoble Tourist Activities
Grenoble Airport is one of the important gateways to the Rhône-Alpes region of France, which is home to some of the most famous skiing mountains in the country, and many other natural attractions, such as large lake areas. The airport handles over 450,000 passengers per annum, and is located approximately 45km, or 28 miles from Grenoble city. It is also within an hour’s drive of Lyon and Chambery. Grenoble Airport is recognized by its official code of GNB, and is commonly referred to as the Grenoble-Saint-Geoirs Airport, or as the Grenoble-Isère Airport, due to its location within the department of Isère. Tourists arriving here will find numerous Grenoble attractions to enjoy, and find that many of the surrounding towns have their own charming characteristics.
The Rhône-Alpes region is the second largest in France, and has long since been established as a prime tourist destination. Flights arrive at Grenoble Airport from areas in the United Kingdom, such as London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as a variety of other international destinations. With a wide choice of tourist attractions, the Rhône-Alpes region can be the ideal location for a long holiday, or even for a shorter weekend getaway. The mountains with almost two hundred ski resorts are the most obvious attraction for the area, for both winter sports and summer leisure activities, but there are several large lakes enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts as well, and famous spas have been developed for entertainment. Some of the lakes are ringed by mountains, and are therefore particularly eye-catching. Within the cities of the region, visitors will be intrigued by the unique array of artistic, historic and religious sights of interest, and will also enjoy more modern attractions, such as the cable car in Grenoble city. In terms of business, the region is a most favourable location, benefiting from suitable environmental conditions and a high concentration of amenities.
One of the most visited of the Grenoble attractions is the Bastille, found on the mountainside overlooking the city. The Bastille is an ancient series of fortifications, begun in the Middle Ages, and today boasts many additional features, such as a semi-underground defence network. It is even classified as one of the most extensive examples of fortifications which were built in the eighteenth century in the whole of France. From the area of the Bastille, visitors can also enjoy a wonderful view of the town below, and of the surrounding mountains. In order to reach the Bastille, a cable car is available, which is an attraction in itself. The first cable car for transport was built in 1875, by the famous Porte de France Cement Company, but was abandoned in the early twentieth century. Nowadays, the Bastille can be reached by a system of egg-shaped cable cars, known by the locals as ‘les Bulles’, or as the Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car. This system has been operational since 1934, and features two restaurants at the top and the Musée des troupes de montagne, or the Museum of Mountain Troops. The summit is some 260m above Grenoble, and from here, a further half an hour’s walk enables you to reach Mont Jalla, for even better views.
Grenoble city has a few sights well worth a visit, and they include the Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné, the Museum of Grenoble and the Archaeological Museum of Saint-Laurent. The Palace dates back to around 1500, and is found at Place Saint Andre. During the 1500’s it was extended, and was used as its name implies up until the French Revolution. Until 2002 it was a courthouse, but is now the property of the Isère Council, and an ongoing renovation project will enable the building to continue to be a main attraction of the city. The Museum of Grenoble is filled with some exquisite collections of paintings from all the artistic evolutions, and is one of the city’s favourite museums. Besides paintings, the museum also has a several interesting items of the Greek and Roman times, as well as those from Egyptian cultures. In the Archaeological museum of the city, many interesting finds can be admired which are from as far back as the third century AD. The museum’s building is a Benedictine church of the 12th century.
The city of Grenoble is cultural, and hosts many festivals throughout the year, such as the Grenoble Jazz Festival in March, and the Open Air Short Film Festival and the Cabaret Frappé music festival in July. Many of the main concerts and performances happening in Grenoble are held at the Summum, which is the biggest concert hall, and the main cultural centre of the city is called MC2, an abbreviation for Maison de la culture, version 2. The Salle Olivier Messiaen is another smaller concert hall in Grenoble. Theatres of the city are the Grenoble Municipal Theatre, the Théâtre de Création and the Théâtre Prémol, while art centres include the Centre national d’Art contemporain and the Centre d’art Bastille.
Nearby Grenoble there are attractions such as the Museum of the French Revolution in the castle of Vizille, found in a little city about 14km from Grenoble, the little train of La Mure, 17km from Grenoble, and the Musée Hydrelec, which is a hydro generating station nearby the big dam Grand’Maison. As mentioned, there are also mountain lakes and spectacular skiing slopes which await the hordes of tourists who visit them each year. Cities nearby worth a visit include Annecy, located on the edge of a beautiful lake that is perfect for swimming. It is also known for its historical sights.
Tourists can find out more information about Grenoble attractions from the tourism desk at the airport, and from other tourism centres in all the major towns and cities of the area.