Grenoble is not a beautiful city. Partially destroyed during World War 2, it has few historical sights, and many ugly buildings. Sure, new constructions look very nice, but the beauty of Grenoble lies somewhere else.
It’s my hometown. I have never lived in the city itself, but I was born there, and went to secondary and high school there as well. In a very objective manner of speaking, I once called it “the most beautiful city in the world”. I wouldn’t say that now (my heart belongs to a place a bit further north), but it’s still a place where I feel at home.
Oh, and there are the mountains! We say that, whichever the street you’re in, you’ll see a mountain at the end of it. Grenoble is located in the center of the so-called “Y grenobolois”, with the mountain ranges of Chartreuse (to the north), Belledonne (to the east) and Vercors (to the west) building this Y shape.
Before leaving for Finland again, I took an afternoon to walk in the center, rediscovering places I though I knew. I really wanted to immortalize the buses and the iconic trams. Grenoble has been a pioneer city in tram transportation in France, a thing I’ve always been proud of. So I walked, waited for buses who wouldn’t come, and had a lot of fun.
For sunset, I climbed to the Bastille, a fortress built in the 19th century upon the remnants of an older defense system from the end of the 16th century. The climb is steep, but the view is totally worth it; you can also take the “bubbles”, the cable-car system that links directly the city, from the banks of River Isère, to the stronghold.
From there, the sunset was not as impressive as it had been the days before, but I comforted myself with the view over the city center, in the dwindling light.