Grenoble is located in the Alps, south east of France.
The region, "l'Isere", is one of the most significant pole of research and development in France after Paris especially around Grenoble. A lot of companies are located in the area: HP, ST Microelectronics/ Philips/ Motorola with their joint research centre (Crolles 2) but also metallurgical companies or computer science ones.
Although not being at altitude (highest point is 200m above the sea level), it is surrounded by three mountain chains: "Le Vercors", "La Chartreuse" et "Belldonne". These offer great escapes for the weekends over the winter of course but also during the summer (walks, climbing, cycling, swimming in lakes...). There is SOOO many things to do out there!!!
The weather is quite different to Warwick or even to the UK in general.
Being near the mountains, it gets quite cold in the winter (around zero) with some periods colder meaning that I made good use of my skiing jacket!
The mean temperature in the summer is 30 degrees. This is because it is in a basin formed by the three mountain chains... Believe me it does get hot when you don't have air conditioning in your university room. Grenoble is one of the town the most polluted in France because of this too.
The city itself
Being literally on the side of the mountain, there is a fortress ("La Bastille") which overlooks the city with beautiful sunsets and great views.The town itself is of human size with many pedestrianised areas and parks. There are quite a few shops mainly high street ones and a big shopping centre accessible by tram (no way near as big as the BullRing though) .
There are a lot of students around (60,000) and therefore quite a few cultural events organised through out the year:
- Beaujolais night: night when the first new wine of the year is put on the shelf in November. Everyone goes in the street to party
- Fete de la musique: National event in June over 2 days where lots of people and bands are in the streets everywhere to enjoy themselves. A timetable is needed to know what type of music is when and where around the town.
- L'annee du Bresil: This year is the year of Brazil in France (the year before was China) and various events are organised to raise awareness of the culture. Through this I had the occasion to taste different products and go to see Gilberto GIL in concert for free.
- Cinema specials: various event are organised with cheaper seats (La fete du cinema, Le printemps du cinema, La rentree du cinema...)
- The city also organises special events such as short film showing outside, free music concerts, etc... The best way to know about those is by reading the local culture event paper "Le petit Bulletin". It has everything inside
The campus is 15 mins tram journey from the city centre or 45 mins walk and hosts 3 different universities along with many university restaurants, and accommodation.
The following map gives a rough idea about the distance across the town