The Gouffre Berger is not open to tourists but to advanced speleologists. Here are the recommendations for descending the Gouffre Berger (June 1st to 31st October)
Due to its reknown, depth and beauty the Gouffre Berger attracts many visitors. The cave presents no major difficulties under normal conditions, especially in the upper half, giving it its reputation as an "easy cave". The cave is nonetheless a 1000m deep cave with a very active master cave. Too many cavers over-estimate their capabilities and take too lightly the difficulties they will encounter.
In recent years there have been 6 cavers killed in this cave (5 due to the water) and there is on average a rescue call-out each year.
For more on the Gouffre Berger, visit their website.
The Gouffre Berger was discovered in 1953. For the first time in the world, minus 1000 m was reached by Jo Berger and his group. The cave goes down to minus 1198 m. It is connected with the "Cuves de Sassenage", 1200 m lower as has been shown using dies.
For a long time, the gouffre Berger was the deepest in the world. It was overtaken by the Mirolda cave in the Criou massif of Haute-Savoie in 1992 with - 1436 m. In 1996, the deepest cave in the world became the Lamprechtsofen (Austria) with -1632 m. In 2001 the Voronja cave in Georgia (Abkhazia) won with - 1680 m. In 2003, the Mirolda regained the top (the bottom !) with - 1733m
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Parcs & gardens : Parc Bachelard
Parc des Champs Elysées ou parc Bachelard
Il est composé de deux parties : un côté (avenue Albert Reynier) est aménagé en parc urbain, l'autre côté (Technisud) offre un aspect plus naturel, l'herbe n'est fauchée que deux fois l'an. Le parc est agrémenté d'un parcours sportif de 1,5 km avec 23 exercices.
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Extension du parc Paul Mistral
Depuis 1932, année de sa création, le parc Paul Mistral n'a cessé de voir sa surface se réduire au profit de l'urbanisation.
Aujourd'hui, la Ville de Grenoble a souhaité que cet espace de verdure soit pleinement restitué aux Grenoblois et aux habitants de l'agglomération.
Il s'agit de concilier les usages d'un parc urbain déjà équipé et la nécessité de préserver et de développer des espaces libres de détente et de tranquillité.
Cet objectif a été soumis à la consultation de tous les Grenoblois en mai 2004 afin d'enrichir le travail du comité de pilotage (Elus et techniciens de la Ville de Grenoble, Grenoble Alpes Métropole (La Métro), Services de l'Etat (DDE, DIREN et ABF), Villes de Saint-Martin-d'Hères et de la Tronche, Conseils consultatifs des secteurs 1, 2, 3, 4 et 5, Unions de Quartier Centre-ville, Bajatière, Abbaye-Jouhaux, Notre-Dame et Mutualité Préfecture, Association LAHGGLO, Associations environnementalistes et patrimoniales : Frapna, Patrimoine et Développement, ADTC, Patrimoine et Territoire...) et d'éclairer le conseil municipal qui, en juillet 2004, a choisit l'équipe de paysagistes (bureau Alexandre Chemetoff) appelée à concevoir le projet d'extension et d'embellissement.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
Parcs & gardens : Parc Paul Mistral
Avec 21 hectares dont 13,8 végétalisés, il est le plus vaste de la ville. Ce patrimoine paysager est un élément essentiel du cadre vie des habitants du centre-ville. Des études engagées depuis 1999 pour l'extension et la requalification du Parc Paul Mistral ont conduit au choix du projet d’extension proposé par le cabinet Chemetoff. L'idée principale est la reconquête des terrains situés à l'Est du parc pour créer une continuité avec les espaces naturels de la commune de la Tronche.
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Grottes de Choranches
I went for half a day in the Vercore. The mountain is nice and in there, there is a nice cave called Les Grottes de Choranches. The visit is nice, in group. Even the kids are alert and interested. The guide was good :)
Cuves de Sassenage
The "Cuves de Sassenage" (the Sassenage cisterns) are one of the seven marvels of the Dauphiné. They are a cave in which flows a strong torrent, the Furon. It has been shown that they were the bottom of the famous Gouffre Berger, one of the deepest in the world but no man connection has been made between both. The opening is in the city of Sassenage ans can be reached easily from down town Grenoble, by the tram. The legend says that the fairy Mélusine is hiding in the caves. The name of "Cuves" comes from the several "Marmites de géant" (potholes) carved by the torrent.
Open every day except Mondays from April 1st to October 31st.
In July and August guided visits from 10h to 18h.
For more on the Cuves de Sassenage, visit the web site of the Office du Tourisme.
Funiculaire de St Hilaire et Coupe Icare
Saint Hilaire du Touvet plateau can be reached easily by an impressing 80 years old "funiculaire" in perfect condition, that starts in the valley and brings you in 20 minutes on the plateau, 700 m higher. It is the steepest railway of Europe (83%).
For more on the Funiculaire, visit their web site.
On the "Plateau des Petites Roches", you can hike on one of the numerous trails with an outstanding landscape. But this is also the best taking off ground in Europe for free flight, paragliding, etc
Every year, an International Festival, the Icarus cup takes place for 4 days with 80,000 visitors, 8,000 pilots. The 32nd edition will take place in 2005 from september 22nd through 25th
Cost: 2 day pass €5; gala night €6
Borroughed from the Coupe Icare web site :
The Icare Festival in Saint-Hilaire du Touvet, now in its 30th year, offers an incredible variety of vehicles in which to travel by air. From the humble paper plane to the hot-air balloon, anything that relies on the whims of nature to fly is represented.
Created in 1974, the Coupe Icare (Icarus Cup) is the oldest 'free flight' manifestation in the world. It assembles more than 7000 para and hang-gliders from all over the world. During the event the 1,300 inhabitants of the village see the population increase 20 times over for four days!
Many different competitions and activities are on show. Some are educational, like the children's village, while others such as the aerial acrobatics and hot air balloons are spectacular. Then there's the crazy and much celebrated aerial disguises...
The competition for the best disguise is undoubtedly the highpoint of the Coupe Icare. It is both funny and poetic, giving full rein to the most extravagant ideas. A flying Eiffel Tower four metres high, a dragonfly six metres long, etc. Whether they are individual or team efforts, the disguises are prepared months before. There is no limit to participants' imagination, but always the nagging question, "Will it fly?"
- Hang Gliding
- Sky Diving
- Hot Air Ballooning
Route des Alpes and Mont Aiguille
In the French Alps, 50 km south to Grenoble, 170 km both from Geneva and from Nice, along the Route des Alpes (N75/E712) the Mont Aiguille (Needle mount) stands as a separated part of the Vercors cliffs. The legend says that goddesses, chased from the Olympus seeked shelter but where surprised, naked by Ibicus. Jupiter, in anger changed the peeping Ibicus into an ibex and separated the mount from the remaining of the Vercors. In the Middle Age, Higher ans steeper mountains of central Alps were mostly unknown while it was its base was easily reached, which made it famous. At that time, it has often been drawn in a fantastic way. In 1490, on the occasion of a pilgrimage, King Charles VIII saw it and required Antoine de Ville, to climb it. He did it in June 1492 under the close watch of a bailiff that made an official report to the king. Antoine de Ville, a specialist of climbing strongholds, lead a group with two priests, an "escalleur du roi" ("laderrist" of the king), a carpenter, a church stone cutter and some locals. All these specialists were used to work in elevation and used the technics they practiced in their job : ladders, ropes and grapnels. They stayed several days on the summit meadow, built a small stone chapel, erected 3 crosses and gave several masses. It is considered as the first alpinism climbing.
On August 27th 1957, Henri Giraud, a master of mountain flying landed on top of the Mont Aiguille in a small plane, a Piper J 3. Altogether, between 1957 and 1975, he landed 53 times on the summit.
If you want to know more on the %Lmontaiguille.free.fr/Mont Aiguille, you can visit this website or the other one, also on the Mont Aiguille
Route Napoléon et lacs de Laffrey
Route Napoléon is N85, a mountain road that links Grenoble to Gap and the Mediterranean and offers superb landscapes. As its name says, it was the route followed by Napoléon when he escaped from the isle of Elbe where he was imprisoned to recover his throne.
Driving from Grenoble, you pass first by Vizille, its castle and museum of the Revolution and then have to climb the famous "Côte de Vizille". It is the steepest main road in France. If you climb it, be sure that you car will not overheat. That happens to many! If you drive down, take extreme care, use the motor brake, drive slowly. Numerous road signs remind that. In the past, there has been several accidents involving busses, trucks or cars that have run brakeless. It is now strictely forbidden to busses and trucks.
On top, the small village of Laffrey (250 inh) and the 3 lacs de Laffrey (Laffrey lakes) : Grand Lac, Lac Mort and lac de Petichet. There are several beaches. Bathing and sailing brings every week end a lot of citizens from Grenoble. However, do not forget that the elevation is close to 1000m and the water is never very warm.
On the "Prairie du Retour" (Meadow of the way back) stands the statue of Napoleon. It is the place where he met with the army coming from Grenoble and which was supposed to arrest him and instead, backed him.
- Historical Travel
Jardin Botanique Alpin du Lautaret
The Jardin Botanique Alpin du Lautaret (Alpine Botanic Garden) is at elevation 2100m and is 0.5 km away from the Lautaret pass, on the road to the Galibier pass. It was first created in 1899 by Pr Lachmann, closer to the Lautaret pass. It has later been rebuilt on 4 hectares and offers now 2500 plants from the Alps and from the main mountain massifs in the world. For each mountain, a plant bed has been created with an environment that recall the massif. Some parts are rocky slopes, other meadows with flowers, other bushes. Water is flowing everywhere in torrents and falls. Each year, 25,000 visitors discover this jewel in the middle of high mountains.
Open 9h-19h from mid June to mid September. Best period is July. Entrance 4 euros. Guided visit at 14h every week day.
For more on the Jardin botanique alpin%L, visit their web site. The web site Jardin Alpin du Lautaret gives also interesting information.
Grottes de Choranche
Choranche prides itself to be among the most beautiful caves in Europe with fistulous stalactites that are unique. It was discovered in 1875.
For more on Grotte de Choranche, visit their web site.
The entrance to the cave is nested in the Cirque of Choranche where you can hike among Juniperus, Box trees and oak trees and reach the waterfall.
Saint Martin d'Hères
The campus of Grenoble is built mostly in the city of Saint Martin d'Hères and for a small part on the neighboring city of Gières.
Saint Martin d'Hères (SMH) is not only a campus but on my page I will present only that part of the city. Moreover, I will present here all what is connected with the University, let it be in SMH or elsewhere in the Grenoble area.
A CENTRE OPEN TO THE WORLD
6,000 foreign students
3,200 students registered for French as a foreign language courses
Thousands of foreign executives
2 international secondary schools
40 foreign communities
150 cultural and international associations
more than 80 countries in contact with Grenoble research teams (of which 80% in EU countries and North America).
B Grenoble, an international research venueThese international networks ? the fruit of each establishment's past and their bonds with other academic bodies ? are organized through European student mobility programmes and bilateral and multilateral agreements.
The agreements cover the exchange of students, researchers and teachers, and joint teaching programmes such as dual degrees and co-tutored theses. They cover every area of science. The diversity of the student population attending Grenoble universities reflects their international dimension, hosting more than 6,000 foreign students, who account for 10% of the total student body.
C A favourable context for learning languagesEighteen languages are taught in Grenoble universities (German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, English, Spanish, Dutch, Rumanian, Arab, Modern Greek, Portughese, Serbo-Croate, Catalan, Italian, Polish, Czech.
In the middle of the campus Maison des Langues et des Cultures offers all students complete courses and separate modules, in classes or for self-learning.
Meylan, La Tronche, Corenc, Montbonnot-St-Martin
Meylan, La Tronche, Corenc and Montbonnot-Saint-Martin
In my Meylan page, I will present mostly Meylan but also neighboring cities of La Tronche, Corenc and Montbonnot-Saint-Martin.
Meylan and Montbonnot-Saint-Martin are now developped at the bottom of the valley though the ancient villages were on the slopes, out of reach of the Isère floods. La Tronche and Corenc have both remained entirely on the slopes of the Chartreuse massif. The Mont Saint Eynard with its fort is on the limit of these communities.
These cities in the close neighbourhood of Grenoble have always been residential locations. When a one hour horse or carriage ride was necessary to reach Meylan or La Tronche, wealthy citizens had for summer a country mansion in these remote places. Now that they are reached by bus or car in a dozen of minutes, everybody wants to live there as it is the less polluted part of the valley and has more green spaces. Meylan had 1074 inhabitants in 1946, 19,000 now.
Meylan is twinned since 1986 with Gonzales (Louisiana) in the USA, 1988 with Planegg (Bavaria) in Germany and since 1999 with Didcot in England.
During the past thirty years, Meylan, the first and more recently Montbonnot-Saint-Martin have developed a district called ZIRST (for Zone industrielle de Recherche Scientifique et Technique = Industrial zone for scientific and technical research). That means that the ZIRST has built 2/3 levels buildings ready for rent to small, new companies in electronics, informatics, metrology and other high technology fields. Larger companies have bought land and have now buildings of their own, often developing an interesting architecture. They are the one I will show here.
This ZIRST has often been called the French Silicon Valley. On the 15th of April 2005, the unpronounceable ZIRST has become Inovallée, for Innovation Valley and with an evident wink to Silicon Valley.
St Martin le Vinoux
Saint Martin le Vinoux is the western entrance into Grenoble. Where the autoroute from Lyon arrives, stands a huge monument that was build in 1967 for the Winter Olympics, during a sculpture symposium by Morice Lipsi, called "Ouverture dans l'Espace" (space opening) but more often called Olympic column. A little further upstream along the Isère river, the entrance in Grenoble has long been the Porte de France. On the limit between Grenoble and Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux, it is one of the few remains of the city walls built by Lesdiguières. A 1620 carving in Latin reminds that this entrance was first called Porte Royale, dedicated to Louis XIII and François de Bonne, duke of Lesdiguières, peer and marschal of France. It was restaured in 1847-48. In 1932, it was turned into a "Monument aux Morts" to honor the dead of 1914-1918 World War.
In my Saint Martin le Vinoux page, I will explain under "things to do" why and how Saint Martin le Vinoux and the whole Grenoble area are strongly linked to the history of concrete. The Casamaures is the master piece of that industry and in this case, it is worth the name of art and is a must visit for those who are interested in architecture. I will present in this page concrete achievements not only in St Martin but also in Grenoble.
Lac de Paladru (Paladru lake)
Underwater diggings on the shores of the Paladru lake have revealed two engulfed villages. The "village des Baigneurs" (`Bathers village) dates back from the end of the Neolithic, 2700 BC while Colletière dates from 1000 AD.
The best artifacts are on show in a museum together with maquettes that allow to understand easily how the villages looked like.
For more on the Lac de Paladru, visit theit web site.
Address : Musée du lac de Paladru, 38850 Charavines
tel : 04 76 55 77 47 firstname.lastname@example.org
May, October and November : open Sturdays and Sundays 14h-18h
June and September : open daily 10h-12h and 14h-18h
July and August : open daily 10h-12h and 15h-19h
Fee : 3 euros
- Historical Travel
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