The Grands Boulevards

Les Grands Boulevards is one of Grenoble's main thoroughfares and looks deceptively like one long street. However, it is more like three streets in one: running west from the Parc Mistral, the boulevard Maréchal Joffre becomes the boulevard Maréchal Foch, which becomes the boulevard Joseph Vallier. This last street continues over the Drac and into neighboring Seyssinet-Pariset.

It may feel like the Grands Boulevards mark the border between the interesting parts of Grenoble and the not-so-interesting parts of Grenoble. That's partly because a rampart, built from 1873 to 1880, once stood where the boulevards run today. The war of Franco-Prussian War left France feeling vulnerable and Grenoble decided it needed yet another fortified wall to protect the city. The Bonne military barracks, today Grenoble's leading ecological housing project, were also built at this time.

Mayor Paul Mistral ordered the destruction of part of ramparts when he created the park that now bears his name in 1925. The rest of the walls came down in 1935 to create a long, wide boulevard. Today, the C tram line and its grassy bed run down the middle of the Grands Boulevards. With their 800 trees and separated bike paths lining the boulevards, the open space gives Grenoble an almost-Parisian feel.  

The Grands Boulevards can be useful for visitors driving out of Grenoble to the Vercors mountains. Along the way, they will find an array of typical shops—bakeries, pharmacies, small grocery stores, a couple of florists, and a few butcher shops, but nothing extraordinary. The UFO-looking St. Jean church, however, may attract architecture fans.

La Charbonnade, a Savoyard restaurant with excellent fondue, and Les Jardins d'Amakrys, a Turkish steam bath with a small restaurant make a trip down the Grands Boulevards worth the detour. Of course, a ride on the tram C can be an easy and relaxing way to get a feel for the neighborhood.  


La Charbonnade


Mercure Grenoble Centre Alpotel

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