Southern districts

The Southern districts of Grenoble fill the land between the Grands Boulevards and the Grand'Place/Alpexpo area. This vast area, which was mostly uninhabited until the 1960s includes several neighborhoods.

Teissère, Alliés-Alpins, Mistral, and Villeneuve were built during what France calls the "Glorious 30"--the years that followed the second world war, when the economy prospered. So much so that the country had to call on massive numbers of immigrants from former African and North African colonies to help rebuild the country and fill new jobs.

Le Village Olympique, Malherbe, Arelquin, and les Baladins correspond to the time of the 1968 Olympic Games. The athletes lodged in what are today the apartments of the Olympic Village and Malherbe hosted the floods of journalists who came to cover the games. The southern districts continue to grow today, with the recently built Vigny-Musset neighborhood.

In July 2010, international press covered the riots in the Villeneuve neighborhood. After a 27-year old resident robbed a jewelry store and nearby casino, the police chased and shot the young man. He died and a few nights of car burning and attacks on patrolling police ensued. A few days later, President Sarkozy came to Grenoble where he vowed to crackdown on criminals and strip French citizenship from naturalized immigrants if they attacked police or practiced polygamy. In his words, problems like those in the Villeneuve neighborhood are the result of "50 years of unregulated immigration" that has "led to failure to integrate."

The southern districts tend to have heavy concentrations of immigrant populations, which itself is not a problem. However, extremely high unemployment rates coupled with the growing feeling that French citizens from ethnic backgrounds are being stigmatized has led some of this area's residents to turn to drug dealing and arms trafficking. The utopia that the southern districts were meant to become in the 1960s and 1970s crumbled with the economy of the 1990s.

Although the southern districts do not present much in terms of attractions (unless you want to see the experimental housing projects), they are home to the MC2: Maison de la Culture. This tugboat-shaped complex was part of the 1968 construction projects and was the first of its kind in France. With 26,000 m2 of space, it includes several stages, auditoriums, and practice rooms for music, dance, and theater. Throughout the year, it showcases cultural performances of the highest quality.
Contact   ·   Privacy   ·   Terms