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Much of Grenoble, with its tower blocks and seething traffic is underwhelming. But this self-styled "Capital of the Alps" is unsurpassed as a base for exploring the surrounding mountains. Only a short drive or cycle ride away, the Alps are a terrific resource for those who ski, trek, canoe or raft. Just look up and around at the magnificent corona of mountains formed by the Regional Nature Parks of Chartreuse and Vercors. A little farther away and almost as accessible is the even wilder Parc National des Écrins. Within the city is a pair of especially tempting museums — Musée Dauphinois and Musée de Grenoble – plenty of stylish restaurants ...

Much of Grenoble, with its tower blocks and seething traffic is underwhelming. But this self-styled "Capital of the Alps" is unsurpassed as a base for exploring the surrounding mountains. Only a short drive or cycle ride away, the Alps are a terrific resource for those who ski, trek, canoe or raft. Just look up and around at the magnificent corona of mountains formed by the Regional Nature Parks of Chartreuse and Vercors. A little farther away and almost as accessible is the even wilder Parc National des Écrins. Within the city is a pair of especially tempting museums — Musée Dauphinois and Musée de Grenoble – plenty of stylish restaurants and the quaint, surviving Quartier des Antiquaires (Antique Dealers’ Quarter). For a dramatic eagle’s-eye view of the city, take yourself up the cable car to Fort de la Bastille. Oddly, although Grenoble is encircled by mountains, it also claims to be France’s flattest city, ideal for hopping around by bicycle along its nearly 200 miles of cycle paths.

Miles Roddis
About the Expert

Miles Roddis has written or contributed to more than 50 Lonely Planet titles including country and regional guides to Spain, France, their Mediterranean island offshoots — and little Andorra.

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