Grenoble, ‘the Capital of the Alps’, is a lively city that’s bestowed with natural beauty, 2,000 years of history and yet a distinctly modern verve. Travel by train to Grenoble to truly appreciate the gorgeous setting of this flat city paradoxically nestled in between three mountain ranges. The city is well connected to the rest of France, as well as to Switzerland and Italy. Direct high-speed trains operate from Paris to Grenoble with a journey of just 3h04mins, Genève Cornavin to Grenoble is 2h04mins, and Turin to Grenoble takes 3h31mins. TGV also connects Lyon to Grenoble by train in 1h02mins, with the regional TER Rhône-Alpes network connecting Grenoble to smaller towns and cities nationally.
Travellers getting a train to Grenoble find themselves arriving into the heart of the city, just a 15-minute walk from the Old Town and its first museum, Musée Stendhal, which remembers a local boy who turned into a national literary treasure in what was once his maternal grandfather’s house. Another 10 minutes away, the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de l’Isère honours the famous resistance the town gave during WWII. Nearby, Parc Paul Mistral has open green spaces and tree-lined avenues, offering tranquillity in the heart of the city. Strolling back towards the river, visitors pass the 13th-century Cathédrale Notre Dame and the adjacent Palais Épiscopal, now home to a wide collection of artefacts that trace local history. A few minutes further by foot, the Musée de Grenoble contains an impressive collection of western art, including some modern masterpieces, and it’s surrounded by pleasant gardens, next to the mountain river, Isère. It’s impossible to miss the Fort de la Bastille, watching over the city from its limestone throne.
Getting to the top is made simple thanks to ‘the bubbles’ — car cables that transport visitors to the summit effortlessly, for breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding massifs, including the peak of Mont Blanc. Before heading back to Grenoble train station, sampling some of the local cuisine is essential. It’s an irresistible mix of Lyonnaise influences and traditional Alpine Savoie dishes. After dark, thanks to Grenoble’s large student population, the city comes to life, and plenty of music venues, bars and clubs invite passers-by to enjoy the local joie de vivre.