Our best picks of what to do this winter in and around Grenoble!
The winter is upon us and Grenoble is THE city in France to be if you want to visit or experience new things or make the most of the outdoors. There is so much to do it was hard to decide which activities to select for you. But after a lot of research, here is what we came up with.
Parc Naturel du Vercors
Despite the winter, the Parc du Vercors is always open to visitors and can be visited on foot, bike, and of course skis. It is also very popular with climbers. The website if full of great information for all these activities and even tells you where you can find a place to stay. This beautiful park was protected officially in 1985 and includes around 17,000 hectares of terrain from mountains, cliffs, rivers, prairies and waterfalls. It boasts over 738 different species of animals including 140 different types of birds, and 72 different mammals. It even has 75 different species of orchids! Google 'Vercors orchids' and go to images, you will be blown away by the diversity and beauty of these amazing flowers!
The village of Villard de Lans in Vercors
Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation
14 rue Hebert, 38000 Grenoble
Grenoble played a big part in the Resistance during the Second World War. For this reason it is highly recommended that you visit the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation which has an excellent reputation. It opened in the 1960s by ex Resistance fighters, deportees and teachers. Its purpose is to educate people on the horrors of WWII during the Nazi occupier as experienced by some of the local Grenoblois. The museum houses an incredible collection of photographs, objects, film, documents and personal accounts. The museum also features 'object of the month' throughout the year, featuring interesting artefacts from the war. Every year it also changes its agenda to feature new exhibitions. This year it is featuring goulags amongst others.
French Resistance fighters
Valrhona - Cité du Chocolat
12 avenue du Président Roosevelt, 26600 Tain-l'Hermitage (1:15 minutes driving from Grenoble)
On a really cold day, what better way to stay warm than to visit a real chocolate factory where you can touch, smell and taste the chocolate?? Valrhona's Cité du Chocolat opened in 2013 on their historic chocolate factory which was created in 1922. It is a high grade luxury chocolate brand that uses only the best chocolate beans they can find to produce their end but not too expensive gourmet chocolates. Today they produce over 3,500 tons of chocolate! On site they have a Discovery Center, a shop and a restaurant - Le Comptoir Porcelana. The Discovery center takes you on a mouth watering tour where you can see behind the scenes how Valrhona make their famous chocolates and where you can smell and taste the chocolate and see how top chefs use the chocolate in their creations.
They offer fun and educational tours for all ages, workshops to learn how to use their chocolates in various recipes and a recreation area dedicated to young children.
Valrhona's world class chocolates
If you think Chamrousse is just for skiing, think again!! This place offers an incredible diversity of FUN things to do that really stretches the imagination. Here are just a few:
1. Igloo restaurant and Hotel
La Croix de Chamrousse, Chamrousse 2250, 38410 Chamrousse
Chamrousse has its own little Igloo village where you can either eat or sleep or do both if you are brave enough. The restaurant offers traditional Savoyard cheese meals such as fondus, with prices starting at €39 for children and €59 for adults. Whilst you are eating you can enjoy the unique architecture of your surroundings! Booking ahead is recommended.
There is also an igloo hotel (which looks like little Hobbit houses!) which offers igloos for couples, families or groups. The prices include a welcome drink, a full meal at the Igloo restaurant, sleeping material, and breakfast in the morning.
2. Ice Diving
I didn't even know ice diving existed until I wrote this article! Yep, ice diving!!!! At 2000 m altitude you can dive under the frozen lakes, with up to 2 metres of ice above you! You can be a beginner or an experienced diver, and are accompanied by expert divers with a lot of experience in this field. Rest assured that wetsuits are 100% waterproof! (I think I am going to stick to visiting the chocolate factory)!!
Not sure yet about ice diving? Watch the video below to see more!
The link below takes you directly to the company that offers the ice diving experience:
3. Sunset Park
Sunset Park is one of the best snow parks in France for Freestyle skiing or 'slope style' as the French call it. The snow park is divided into different sections depending on your level. There is the Snow Park for the experts, that has different jumps, a shredline and ski cross. The Kid Park for intermediate level, Initiatic Park for beginners and the Family Park
Sunset Park, Chamrousse
The Bastille cable cars
Quai Stéphane Jay, 38000 Grenoble
If you don't fancy walking up to the top of the Bastille fortress, then take the famous cable cars, lovingly known as the Eggs or the Bubbles due to their shape. The Eggs will take you from the town center to the top of the fortress. At the top you will have a magnificent view of the entire city of Grenoble and its surroundings.
They were built in 1934 and were proclaimed the first cable cars built in a city center. They were conceived and built in 1934 to attract tourism to the city, but the Eggs as we know them today date from 1976. A little known fact, but quite encouraging to hear is that the local firemen exercise every March with the Eggs to practice and hone their rescue techniques! The ride is quick and the views from both the Eggs and the top of the fortress are breath taking. Once at the top you can enjoy a coffee or meal at a couple of the local restaurants.
The Bastille Cable Cars also known as the Eggs or Bubbles
Challenge the Room
7 rue Très Cloîtres, 38000 Grenoble
Do you like a challenge, or resolving enigmas? Then Challenge the Room is for you! Challenge the Room exists in several towns including Grenoble, Chambéry, Crolles and Lyon. You can choose from 6 different themes and then you are put into the room of the theme you have chosen and have 60 minutes to resolve the enigmas to find the key to escape! Some of the themed rooms in Grenoble include Space, a 1930s crazy professor, neuroscience and cubes, 1960s crime mafia and 1788 just as the French revolution is about to explode!
You can go in a group and rent out a whole room for between €80 and €100, or go individually or in a small group with prices ranging from 18€ to 35€ per person depending on how many people are in your group and the time you go. They have a Happy Hour if you go before 16h and pay a bit less. Challenge the Room is very popular and reservations need to be made weeks in advance, but worth the wait!
Challenge the Room in Grenoble - Can you resolve the enigmas to escape?!
Sainte Claire covered market
19 Place Sainte Claire, 38000 Grenoble
The beautiful ornate structure that houses the covered market was built in 1874. It is open every day except Mondays, from early morning until 1 pm and is very easily accessible by both trams A and B. There are also vendors on the outside selling mostly fruits and vegetables with a couple of vans occasionally there selling roast chickens. Inside there are many vendors behind their stalls also selling fruits and vegetables, but also lots of cheeses, meats, fish and pastries. Some vendors sell foods/meals that you can buy to eat straight away or take home and heat and eat later.The market is not known for being the cheapest place to buy food in town, but it certainly is a treat for the eyes!
Le Marché de Sainte Claire
ENJOY THE WINTER!
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