Grenoble, or the “Door of the Alps” as it was christened by Napoleon during his military campaign in the 19th century is a very pleasant city to visit. It nestles in the middle of three mountain ranges separated by the beds of two different rivers snaking from the snowy heights. In the North, the Chartreuse Mountain Range displays its sheer rocks dominating the city like a massive wall. Of course, the name “Chartreuse” also conjures up the world famous alcoholic beverage created by the monks of Chartreux something like 1500 years ago, of which the recipe is still kept secret. On the West side, the Vercors Mountain Range spreads its smooth forms towards the South. The Vercors was a hotspot of the French Resistance during World War II against the German regime, and many famous French freedom fighters such as Camille Desmoulins found shelter in its intricate woods. In the South-East side proudly stands the Belledonne Mountain Range and its snowy peaks. Coming from the Italian “bella donna” or “beautiful woman”, this mountain range is clearly the beginning of the Alps, and leads to some delight of winter sport in one of its many ski resorts.
But if Grenoble is gorgeous for its scenery, it is also very charming in itself. The old streets and their meanderings follow the bed of the Isère River, and some buildings just seem to crack under the weight of years. The center is especially quiet and relaxed, and if winter is a very good season to visit the city thanks to the immediate proximity of the sky resorts, summer offers a totally different view to the tourists, stepping through flowery gardens and colourful streets.
If the region is very welcoming for its views, it is also very famous for its food and the regional French Cuisine just has to be sampled here. Originating from the region are a number of dishes such as Tartiflette and Gratin Dauphinois and also a number of wines such as Savoy’s white wine. These summarize the whole way of life of Dauphiné, mainly based on the pleasures of the table.
During your visit to Grenoble, do not hesitate to step into one of its smaller but better restaurants – Le Petit Bouche. In a room filled with old ornaments and objects gathered in flea markets, you will have the possibility to enjoy simple but tremendous food of exceptional quality. The speciality of the house is Tartiflette, being potatoes gratin with added onion, bacon and cream, and topped with Reblochon – a local cheese. Tartiflette is eaten with a green salad and comes of course with a refreshing Savoy white Wine! Delicious!
For a very reasonably priced home-made meal, come to Le Petit Bouche and enjoy the warm welcome of the owner and the chef. You might however, have difficulty choosing what to have and in glancing at other customers’ plates think “Oh no, maybe I should have chosen that…”
If you come to Grenoble, you must come and sample the delights of Le Petit Bouche. It’s probably the whole regional culture gathered in 50m². Just delightful!
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