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Sitting on the western edge of the French Alps, Grenoble is so much more than a stopover on the way to the action on the slopes...
Located in the south-east of France, where the River Drac shakes hands with the River Isere, the part-historic, part-industrial city of Grenoble has a totally different personality to that of its fellow French cities. A huge student population keeps things feeling fresh as centuries-old architecture reminds visitors of Grenoble’s illustrious past. Bridges span the restless rivers and create tourist-halting scenes, while in the background modern tower blocks interrupt views of the snow-capped peaks beyond. It’s not all beauty here, but there’s plenty to encourage visitors to stay awhile before flocking to the fresh powder on the ski runs.
Hitch a ride on the cable car as soon as you arrive in Grenoble. From here you can see the city shrinking below as the cars cross the river and you journey into the skies towards the ancient fortifications of Bastille Hill. Once back amid the city streets, a plethora of museums entice visitors to discover more about subjects such as natural history, archaeology and the French resistance during the Second World War. And this is France, so you should keep an eye out for cafés and restaurants filled by locals and find a seat among the hubbub.
Cheap car hire is easy to find at Grenoble Airport with big brands like Argus, Auto Europe, Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt all located on site. There are also some smaller companies at the airport, but you should compare online beforehand in order to get the best price.
Grenoble car rental enables visitors to get around the city with ease. You can collect your pre-booked vehicle on arrival at Grenoble–Isère Airport or at a handy location in the downtown area of the city.
When you book car rental, Grenoble is a great starting point for adventures in the Alps. Where will you go?
The opportunities to get active in and around Grenoble are endless. A number of hiking routes into the surrounding hills and mountains begin within minutes of the city. There are gentle walks that take visitors on a tour of nature and are suitable for all ages, as well as high-altitude treks that are only for the most adventurous. Call in at the tourist offices in the city for information on suitable trails. Some of the best are a short journey from the city, making your hire car indispensable.
Climbers can also literally get to grips with the mountains around Grenoble, which include the Vercors and Chartreuse ranges. There are less challenging climbs that even children can manage as well as really taxing encounters with this tough terrain.
Of course many passengers arrive on Grenoble flights during winter with layers of thermals in the suitcase ready for adrenaline rushes on the snow. A former host of the Winter Olympics, the resorts around Grenoble cater well for skiers of all abilities. The closest resorts are around 45 minutes by road from Grenoble. These include Autrans and Chamrousse. Les Deux Alpes is only 75 minutes from Grenoble by road. Transfer buses do run between Grenoble and Les Deux Alpes but car hire offers visitors much more freedom.
When the last of the winter snows melt, the mountains welcome day-trippers from Grenoble. The idea of swimming in a crystal-clear lake at high altitude might give some the chills, but for others this is the perfect way to cool off during the heat of summer. The mountains shelter Grenoble from the wind so the summer months can experience surprisingly hot days. It is possible to drive all the way to a number of nearby lakes, though parking a way off and hiking to reach the water makes that refreshing dip even more rewarding.