It will come as some surprise to those who know our relationship to thrills that we decided to see Grenoble from the heights of the Bastille, accessible by a rather steep cable car ride. Who talked me into this?!!!
The day was a bit hazy and the trip heart-stopping, but the views were gorgeous once we got to the top. We saw the “Capital of the Alpes” from an amazing perspective. This 2,000-year-old city spreads out on a plain at the confluence of two rivers and is surrounded by mountains. Not a bad place to put a city.
Going down, we got smart and faced backwards. Half the thrills, but a lot easier on the stomach.
Though the city is huge, we focused on the older part and its charms. The minions are everywhere in France, along with streets filled with markets and cafés.
We spent some time in the Museum of Grenoble, which houses a notable modern art collection, as well as an excellent permanent collection that spans the centuries. We found many old friends and even some Americans. The building itself is very graceful without overwhelming the art – for once.
Our other special Grenoble site was café de la Table Ronde, the second-oldest café in France, opened in 1739. From its earliest days, it was the literary and artistic center of the city, and everyone from Sarah Bernhardt to Stendhal dined there. It was also a hive of resistance activity, and was closed by the Germans toward the end of the war, but reopened as soon as they left town. Guess the Algonquin’s glory days were a pale reflection of this busy little corner of Grenoble.