Back in January, 3 of the other assistants in Oyonnax and I decided to spend a weekend in Grenoble! High on my list of places to visit in the Rhone-Alpes region during my TAPIF year, Grenoble is located at the foot of the French Alps and boasts stunning scenery of the mountains.
We stayed just one night- trained it out from Oyonnax early Saturday morning and returned Sunday evening. We were incredibly lucky weather-wise during our impromptu weekend- especially considering the main tourist attraction of Grenoble is the Bastille mountain fortifications with amazing hiking trails and views of the Alps. The Bastille is also home to the famous Grenoble cable cars- which were out of commission the weekend we were there. That was okay, as we planned on hiking regardless!
Since Sunday was supposed to be rainy, as soon as we arrived on Saturday we headed up the mountain! There were two options- looping hiking trails that would take upwards of 3 hours to get to the top, or straight-up stairs that took us just about an hour. While we certainly got a workout, we wanted to get to the top with plenty of time before it started to get dark and cold, so we took the athletic route. It got so warm- in January in the Alps!- that we all had to take off our jackets before reaching the summit!
The Bastille is an old fortress from the 17th century that was designed as a barrier against Italy-as the French region of Haute-Savoie had not joined France yet and so often joined invading Italian armies to gain more footholds in the French Alps. After Haute Savoie joined France in 1860, the Bastille no longer made up the French-Italian frontier and so the fortress fell into ruins. Today, in the spring and summer there are outdoor ropes courses, rock climbing and zip-lining on top of the Bastille! (I may have to make another trip there just for that…;) There is a platform on the summit that shows a nearly 360 degree panorama of the Alps- we could even see Mont Blanc off in the distance.
The city of Grenoble itself has colorful buildings and lots of international restaurants- we had Greek!- but the Bastille is really the main attraction. I checked out the Grenoble WWII museum, which was interesting but small, and we wandered around the city squares before hopping on our train(s, and bus!) back to Oyonnax.
Have you ever been to Grenoble? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!