Fun things to do in Grenoble

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Grenoble

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    Lesdiguières mansion and Musée Stendhal

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    1, rue Hector Berlioz - 38 000 Grenoble Tél : 04.76.54.44.14.
    The Lesdiguières mansion became later the town hall until 1968. It is now the Stendhal museum. The XVIIIth century living rooms present paintings and drawings of Stendhal, of his family and friends. It shows Stendhal autographs and original prints of several of his books

    Open: From November 1st to Easter, open only Saturdays and Sundays, 14h-18h.
    From Easter to July 15th and from September 15th to November 1st, open daily except Mondays and bank holidays 14h-18h.
    From July 15th to September 15th, open daily except Mondays and bank holidays 9h-12h and 14h-18h.

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    Fontaine du Lion et du Serpent, close up

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    Place de la Cymaise, Fontaine du Lion (Lion fountain), a bombastic statue by the sculptor Sappey and molted by Crozatier. It symbolize the fight between the winding Isère river (the snake) and its affluent, the torrential Drac river (the Lion), that has flooded Grenoble several times in the past. The snak is molted in bronze while the lion is carved in white lime stone from Sassenage.

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    Porte de France

    by JLBG Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    On the limit between Grenoble and Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux, the Porte de France 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 : it was 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.

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    Lesdiguières mansion and Musée Stendhal

    by JLBG Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    Henry BEYLE was born on 1783 January 23rd in Grenoble. He is one of the top French novelist of the XIXth, know under the name of STENDHAL. His father wanted him to run for "École Polytechnique" but he wanted to be a writer. As a cavalry sub-lieutenant in the army of Bonaparte, he discovers Italy and falls in love with the country. His first travels in Italy made him write "Histoire de la peinture en Italie". In 1814, after the fall of Napol?on, he is jobless but chose to stay in his beloved Italy. He write "Vie de Haydn", "Vie de Mozart" et "Vie de Métastase", mainly for his living.

    Between 1814 and 1830, Stendhal lives as a dilettante. He lives in Paris but travels very often to Italy. He dedicates more and more time to writing. In 1817, he writes "Rome, Naples et Florence". In 1930, one of his most famous novels "le Rouge et le Noir"

    In 1831, he gets the position of Consul in Civitavecchia. Between 1831 and 1841, he travels extensively across Italy and dedicates most of his time to writing. He writes "les Souvenirs d'?gotisme" in 1832, "Lucien Leuwen" and "la Vie de Henry Brulard" in 1835 and his masterpiece "La Chartreuse de Parme" in 1838.

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    Jardin de ville

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    The Jardin de ville has always been divided in flower garden and grove. It is the only green space in the old city and a very rich social life has always taken place. On one side, it is dominated by Stendhal climbing vine, growing on a terrace that belongs to the Gagnon apartment, on top of The Roman city wall.

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    Stendhal house, the entrance

    by JLBG Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Stendhal house is actually an unfurnished part of the XVIIIth century apartments of Gagnon, the grandfather of Stendhal which can be visited. Temporary shows (painting, literature, etc...) are held in the apartments. One room is dedicated to the memory of Stendhal. Access to the treillised vineyard of Gagnon, on top of the Roman city wall is possible.
    More on Stendhal on this web site.
    Open : 10h to 12h (9h to 12h from July 15th to September 15th) and 14h to 18h, except Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays.
    Closed from september 1st to 20th.

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    Stendhal house, the yard

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    If, instead of climbing the staircase that leads to the Gagnon apartment, you walk a few meters towards the small paved yard, you will discover this small (1.5 m high) sculpture of two nude children playing. It does not seem to have been designed to be there but it seems to have been drop here and forgotten. As the yard is damp, it is covered with moss and algae. What is it, I do not know, but will try to learn.

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    Fontaine place de Gordes

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    Place de Gordes is a small square at the rear of the Église Saint André. Until the middle of the 20th century, this kind of fountain was very frequent in the Alps in small villages as well as in larger towns. They were used for the people to fetch their drinking water and for horses, mules and cattle to drink. The statue represents the shepherd Cyparisse, Apollo's favourite who killed by mistake his beloved fawn. As he was so sad he wanted to die, Apollo turned him into a cupress (Cyparis). It was carved by Jean-Esprit Marcellin in the XIXth.

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    The Casemates

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    The casemates are on the eastern side of the Bastille complex, close to "La Tronche". It is possible to walk down from "La Bastille" on this side of the fortifications too. It is more "mineral" as it is follows all the way the fortifications and has no garden part as in the Parc Guy Pape trail. The lowest part of the fortifications, the "Casemates" have been turned into a scientific show room that presents temporary shows on various subjects, organizes lectures, etc?

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    Pont St Laurent, "Fontaine du Lion et du Serpent

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    In line with the Pont Saint Laurent, the Fontaine du Lion et du Serpent (see next tip). The Musée Dauphinois can be reached by the "Montée Chalamont", beginning by a vaulted passage on the left side of the fountain. The Institute of Geogrphy nd the Institute of Geology are on top of the photo. If you enlarge the photo, you will see on le top left the "bulles" of the telephérique.

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    Haussmanian building Place Notre-Dame

    by JLBG Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    At one end of Place Notre Dame, stands an extraordinary Hausmanian style building. It might seem that it is all build in stone and decorated with stone carvings. Actually, they are all made in mold concrete. This technique has been used in Grenoble very early, following the discoveries of Vicat on hydraulic concrete (see may "Vallée de l'Or gris" page) in 1817 and the opening of the first concrete mill in France in 1842.

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    Fountain on Place Victor Hugo

    by JLBG Updated Apr 26, 2005

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    In the second half of the XIXth century, the growth of the city lead to build new districts outside the city walls which were dismantled. Place Victor Hugo was built as a new center of the city, following the principles of Baron Haussmann in Paris : wide and straight avenues lined with trees, building of the same size but with very distinctive details. Grenoble grey gold (visit my Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux page) was extensively used for the decoration of the fronts. As all buildings were built at the same time, Place Victor Hugo is a fine example of Haussmanian architecture, almost unchanged
    The fountain on Place Victor Hugo has been built in 1961. With is great basin and its powerful streams, it seems to mimic Versailles, at a much lesser scale ! Moreover, it reminds that in the Alps water flows everywhere and that fountain are a tradition.

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    Musée Dauphinois (St Marie d'en Haut)

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    The Musée Dauphinois is in the ancient Sainte Marie d'en Haut (Saint Mary on the top), on the slopes of the Bastille mountain. The building is an historical landmark. The cloister and the chapel must be visited. The baroque chapel has frescoes dedicated o the life of Saint François de Salle. The museum presents the life as it was along the centuries in the mountains of the Dauphiné.

    Open every day except Tuesdays. From November 1st to April 30th : 10h-18h
    From May 2nd to October 31st : 10h-19h

    Permanent shows :
    LA GRANDE HISTOIRE DU SKI
    The ski from 2000 BC to nowadays

    LES GENS DE L’ALPE
    Portraits of those who succeeded in harnessing the wild high mountain environment to make their living.
    For more on the Musée Dauphinois, visit their web site.

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    Bayard, place St André

    by JLBG Written Apr 19, 2005

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    Place Saint André is a quiet place with on one side the ancient Palais de Justice, on the other side the Collégiale Saint André. In the middle, the statue of Pierre du Terrail, born in Grenoble in 1475, known as the famous knight Bayard, "chevalier sans peur et sans reproche" (fierless and reprochless knight) by Romantic sculptor Raggi. For more on Bayard look at this link. At the end of the Place, the "Café de la Table Ronde", open in 1739 and said to be the second oldest café in France after the Procope open in Paris in 1674.

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    The Jardin de ville

    by JLBG Updated Apr 22, 2005

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    The "Pré de la Trésorerie" (treasurer's meadow) was just outside the Roman city wall. It was turned in the XVIIth century by François de Bonne, Duc de Lesdiguières, Governor of the Dauphiné province, into gardens for his mansion and included in the new city wall.

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