Last Wednesday, La Caserne de Bonne shopping center opened its doors (step back in time and preview the opening if you want to build a little bone-tingling suspense…)
While I like excitement, I wanted to steer clear of opening-day mobs but get there before Saturday when probably half of Grenoble will flock to the new stores to either A) shop or B) just walk around and look.
Just as planned, not too many people were pushing around the place, just enough to give La Caserne a little energy. So what was it like? Pretty cool, actually. The open-air galleries are pleasantly airy although if it had rained, I might have had another impression. It was kind of weird to see someone ride their bike through, but then I remembered, yes, it is a mall, but no, it isn’t closed off. There is an indoor gallery too, maybe so people will still come if weather is bad.
La Caserne’s ecological side shows up in the choice of stores too–Nature et Découvertes, Terre Avenir organic food store, Resonances bath and body shop, and Le Vieux Camper outdoor gear shop. Makes sense.
Although it was a bit surprising that Le Vieux Camper wasn’t actually selling anything yet. Their official opening date is Oct. 15. In the meantime, though, they’ve filled the store with winter sports memorabilia, especially from 1968 when Grenoble hosted the winter Olympics. Although I went in a little disappointed at not being able to come away with some nifty hiking equipment, I left hoping they’ll keep the makeshift museum once the shelves are stocked.