Let me tell you, Grenoble never really crossed my radar before but my husband sometimes works here now so I decided to take the opportunity to explore this off-the-beaten path city. Located in the Avergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère and is historically known as being a city of resistance to Nazi, Germany while, in more modern times, a seat of scientific study. Science is what brought my husband and I to the region as his medical research company has offices located just outside the city. While Grenoble is often overshadowed by its larger, more illustrious neighbor, Lyon, the city has a lot to offer the traveler from beautiful parks, incredible mountain views, museums, nice shopping, and a great food scene. It’s definitely a place I’d consider living and I can’t wait to head back to explore more.
Walking through the city, history is palpable as you meander past old buildings, churches, and beautiful fountains. Grenoble’s Fort de La Bastille towers above the city and offers the best views which you can easily access by cable car also known as the bubbles. Take a quick hike to the National Memorial to the Mountain Troops and enjoy the serenity of standing at 2066 feet (630 meters) altitude surrounded by the Alps and the refreshing mountain air. Afterward you may choose to have dinner at Restaurant Chez Le Per’Gras, a lovely eating establishment located just behind the
Bastille with incredible views or you may decide dinner in the city proper is more to your taste.
The Alpes region of France is well-known for its food…especially Lyon, considered one of the culinary capitals of Europe. It’s no wonder one of my favorite things to do in Grenoble is eat! Walk a bit in any direction and you’re bound to stumble on some local gem of a restaurant. There are all kinds of restaurants in Grenoble including ethnic food such as Indian, Chinese, and Japanese; American style restaurants to which tourists flock; and, of course, French food. There is a remarkable air surrounding French food as even the most mundane of dishes is presented with a certain flair and it’s something I love about the French. They love their food and are happy to share their culinary culture with anyone.
Alfred and I actually made a new friend in Grenoble, using the Grindr app, who showed us around a bit and provided some pretty great insight to the city. Yes, I know, Grindr is not usually used for spurring on new friendships but the app is really handy when we travel as it makes meeting other gay men a bit more practical. In any case, our new friend walked around the city with us for a bit and took us to an incredible wine bar called Le Verre A Soi that offers a pour-your-own-wine experience. It also offers tasty looking cheese trays and other vittles but we did not order food here. After the wine bar, he took us to a really great restaurant serving traditional food from the Brittany region of France. I’d never tried Breton food before and was rather pleased with that experience as we sipped on cider and devoured a delicious galette. We certainly will return to both these awesome places!
Check out my list below of the top 5 small restaurants to try if you ever find yourself in Grenoble!
This creperie is now one of my favorite restaurants in the city and is also the restaurant which our Grindr friend introduced us to during our last trip to Grenoble. We would have never found it were it not for him. It’s a hidden gem serving the best crepes and galettes which is usually only frequented by locals. The food is simple and the setting is warm and inviting. You really feel as though you are eating in someone’s home as the staff is friendly and go out of their way to make you feel at home. The restaurant also serves as a grocery store of sorts and offers fine Breton products such as ciders, fish, and spices. It’s a must-visit restaurant!
Comptoir Breton: 30 Rue Thiers, 38000 Grenoble, France
Le Coque Hardi
Full disclosure: I did not eat at this restaurant. However, our friend recommended it as one of his favorite places to eat in the city. Le Coq Hardi serves generous portions of delicious food including tartiflette, salads, and steaks. I’m told the staff are very friendly and are happy to help non-French speakers with the French-only menu. It’s an unassuming laid back restaurant also has an excellent location close to Place Victor Hugo which is great for a post-dinner stroll.
Le Coque Hardi: 19 Rue de Belgrade, 38000 Grenoble, France
L’Ardoise is located down a quaint alley and is affordably priced so it’s perfect for the budget traveler. Serving hardy French food, it even offers a 23 euro menu which includes an appetizer, main, and dessert. For this menu, you can choose from just about anything on the menu except for a few items. Guinea fowl, gratin dauphinois, filet, and raspberry tarts are just a few of the delicious menu items waiting for your taste buds. L’Ardoise’s staff are very friendly and the restaurant does provide English menus for those who find French a tad difficult. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as this restaurant is usually fully packed with diners.
L’Ardoise: 2 rue de Miribel, 38000, Grenoble, France
La Brasserie des Archers
One of our favorite restaurants in the city, Les Archers has a sophisticated vibe with dishes to match. I highly recommend this restaurant for dinner as my entire meal (and that of my husband) was absolutely delicious. Our favorite items on the menu include steak tartar, snails with butter and parsley, and roasted duck breast. The restaurant also offers great wines which you can order by the glass, pitcher, or bottle. The staff is super friendly and really make us feel welcomed and the restaurant has a great outdoor seating area during the warmer months. It can get busy so you’d be best to make a reservation, especially during the holidays because Grenoble’s Christmas market goes right up to the restaurant. As you can imagine, it stays pretty busy.
La Brasserie des Archers: 2 rue Docteur Bally, 38000, Grenoble, France *+33 4 76 46 46 60
La Ferme A Dede
Serving mainly food from Savoie and Dauphinois traditional food, be sure to enjoy the raclette, tartiflette, raviolis, and the large selection of meats. La Ferme a Dede is a small, quaint restaurant serving excellent food and wine. Service is friendly and the staff is not overbearing as they attempt to make you feel welcomed and serve you the best the restaurant has to offer. You’ll dine surrounded by farm-style decor while making your choices from the reasonably priced menu. However, this restaurant might be considered a tad expensive for some and is probably not the best choice for the budget traveler. I really enjoyed the setting of the restaurant as it is located in a quiet corner of the historic center. Just outside the restaurant is a giant old tree surrounded by benches. It’s extremely picturesque and a perfect place for romance.
La Ferme A Dede: 24 Rue Barnave, 38000 Grenoble, France
Check out my Quick Guide to Grenoble here!
Do you enjoy dining at small, local restaurants when you travel?
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