Grenoble is located in
Isère, a department of the south east of France. This ex capital of the Dauphiné area is the second major city of Rhone-Alpes, after Lyon. In terms of population, Grenoble itself is the 16th city of France (156,107 inhabitants in 2006) and its agglomeration is the 12th of France (560,222 inhabitants in 2008). Its inhabitants are called the Grenoblois.
Grenoble is located in a basin, as named by the locals. Indeed, it is surrounded with three massifs: the Vercors in the south west, Belledonne range in the east and Chartreuse in the north. The city is actually more or less situated at the heart of the French Alps. Due to this location, it was nicknamed the capital of the Alps. Grenoble is crossed by the Isere River.
Grenoble is dominated by the so-called Bastille, an ex stronghold which aim was the defence of the city and its surroundings. It is accessible from the city-centre thanks to the bulles as named by the locals. This aerial tramway became one of the symbols of Grenoble. At the back of the Bastille, the regional nature park of Chartreuse displays its charms and gems.
In 2009, the average buying price in France is €3,197 /sq m. Grenoble property prices are almost as high as the national average: €2,935 /sq m. But this city has so much to offer: you can reach the slopes in 30 minutes, benefit from the weather and from the view over the mountains, Furthermore, the French Riviera is easily reachable from Grenoble: 3hrs by motorway. If you can’t afford a property in the city centre, then you have many other houses on offer in remote villages or towns, which should be more affordable.
In terms of rental, a property in France is rented €12.22 /sq m /month and €12.42 /sq m /month in Grenoble. Here again, the average of the city is above the national average. Thus, it should be a good location for those looking for buy-to-lets, as you should rapidly find a tenant (59.6% of Grenoblois are tenants). Moreover, many universities and schools in the surroundings make Grenoble a place offering good rental opportunities. Three-room apartments are more sought-after than large apartments (5 rooms), with 27.2% against 12.7%.
Good food: Rhone Alpes is, in every food lover mind, an excellent location to eat good food. Many specialities and local produce make the pride of the locals. The noix de Grenoble (walnuts which have the AOC label) is used in almost all the Grenoblois plates: some add shelled walnuts in their salad, others make the salad dressing with walnut oil… Another delightful dish is the famous gratin dauphinois, made of potatoes cut in slices and put in the oven with cream, milk and gruyere cheese. At the end of the meal, taste the Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage cheese with a delicious red wine.
Climate and weather: the climate in Grenoble is atypical: in winter, temperature can be very low, but in summer, the city holds the highest heats of France. The surrounding mountains form a giant basin, in which the heat piles up. As a result, in winter, the city offers great winter sports opportunities. In summer, temperature in the city is very high, and will let you bath in a lake or in your swimming-pool. Hiking and climbing in the mountains are also attractive activities during this period of the year.
Activities: mountain sports, and especially skiing definitely make Grenoble a touristy location. About 20 ski resorts are on offer in the area (the closest ones are only 30 minutes from the city), an idyll to practise ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sleigh, heliski and snowmobile. The most renowned ski resorts are Les Deux Alpes, L'Alpe d'Huez, Chamrousse, Lans en Vercors, but many other are also very easily and quickly reachable.
Location – transport links: Grenoble is reachable from Lyon to the north west, from Chambéry to the north east, from Valence to the south east and from Aix en Provence to the south, each of these destinations being connected by a motorway. Six train stations in the city’s agglomeration serve the main cities of France i.e. Lyon, Dijon, Paris, Nantes, Valence, Annecy and so on. In the city centre, moving is very easy thanks to the public transports: 4 tramway routes and 25 bus lines. Finally, you can land on Grenoble airport (40km from the city centre) from London, Bristol, Liverpool, Dublin, Edinburgh and other British destinations.
Rental opportunities: Grenoble is a popular tourist location due to the huge number of ski resorts in the surroundings. Moreover, this is a dynamic and thriving economic centre renowned for its high technology. It offers good rental opportunities either from seasonal short term lets (with the number of winter tourists) or long term lets (for instance students or workers).
Property Styles and Architecture in Grenoble
As 93.8% of the properties in Grenoble are apartments, the city has no particular architectural style. There is a higher demand in 3-room apartments than in 5-rooam apartments. Studio flats, 2-room and 4-room apartments are also sought-after. Depending on their location, they may offer an amazing view over the surrounding mountains or the River Isere. Grenoble being inhabited by many students, a good idea could be to rent a furnished property.