Autumn in Grenoble Alpes is a time of flamboyant mountains, exciting exhibitions and comforting cuisine.
Here are our top 10 things to do in Grenoble to make the most of the autumn season and the beauty of nature during this period of transition. It’s also the time for exhibitions and festivals, so you can be sure you won't be bored!
1. Go Nordic walking in the Vercors
Exploring the mountains under the reddening leaves and in the fresh air is a simple pleasure and a gentle physical activity.
Equipped with poles, come and try Nordic walking with an instructor who will guide you as you take your first steps in this fun activity, in harmony with nature.
2. Meet artisans and designers
The Grenoble Alpes region is blessed with a wealth of talent. Potters, bookbinders, glove-makers and artists, there are plenty of them creating with their hands and tools.
Le Parcours des Arts invites you to meet some of them as you wander through the districts of Grenoble’s old centre, visiting galleries and workshops.
3. Admire the mountain pastures... in the city!
The mountains and their traditions are never far away when you’re in Grenoble Alpes. During the autumn, many events celebrate the cows and other queens of the high ground.
From the symbolic Descente des Alpages to the Festival Pastoralismes & Grands Espaces, take the time to learn more about the life of mountain farmers while sampling the delicious products of Alpine agriculture.
4. Treat yourself to the classics
As the temperatures drop, does your stomach crave invigorating dishes? We've got just what you need! All around Grenoble Alpes you’ll find restaurants serving traditional French cuisine (and more if you wish).
Of course, don’t miss the famous gratin dauphinois and Chartreuse (liquor). We also recommend the Murçon (sausage), ravioles and other nutty delicacies from our neighbours - a real treat!
5. Pick mushrooms in Belledonne
We’d like to be perfectly clear: we’re not going to tell you where to find mushrooms, it’s like a magician’s secret, it’s never revealed. However, if you fancy setting off in search of boletes and other chanterelles, we recommend the hiking trails of the pretty Belledonne mountains.
Get up at the crack of dawn, arm yourself with a small knife and a bag, and keep your eyes peeled as you wander through the forests above Chamrousse and Allevard. You're bound to make some great discoveries, but make sure they're edible.
6. Go to shows and exhibitions
September sees the start of a new season in theatres and cultural venues, much to our delight. The many museums in Grenoble Alpes do the same, often unveiling their new exhibitions in autumn.
This year's highlights include an exceptional group exhibition on Nature at the Musée de Grenoble , photos by Doisneau and cycling at the Couvent Sainte-Cécile and Maps of the Chartreuse at the Musée de l’Ancien Évêché .
7. Observe nature and listen to the bellowing of the stag
Watching animals amid the autumn leaves is probably the most relaxing activity Grenoble Alpes has to offer. Head off into the forest or mountains to meet Alpine wildlife, in the heart of nature’s splendour.
The most impressive spectacle is played out in the woods, where autumn is mating season for the stags, who try to seduce the females with their best bellowing. Whether at the Domaine de Vizille or on a sortie accompagnée en Chartreuse , we guarantee unforgettable memories.
8. Dream at Rencontres Ciné Montagne
It's the perfect autumn event, a motionless journey through the mountains: Rencontres Ciné Montagne comes back every year to enchant us. Every year it's a chance to gaze at the summits on the big screen and learn more about the people who experience them.
After the screenings, there's a good chance you'll want to go climbing yourself. Make the most of the end of the fine weather for a last hike or a final climb - we've got plenty of suggestions for you!
9. Sample Isère PGI wines
On the slopes of Grésivaudan, vines thrive under the sun and the mountains. It’s a story both old and new, stemming from a medieval tradition that has been revived since the mid-20th century. Protected by a PGI since 2009, this wine is a heritage to be discovered with the palate and the nose.
There are a number of ways to taste the PGI, either at one of the wine merchants in Grenoble Alpes or directly from producers such as Pèr Gras or Domaine Finot.
10. Spend the night in the Chartreuse forests
After so many adventures, it’s time to relax. Why not try out an unusual experience in Chartreuse, at the edge of the forest and the gateway to the massif? The nights are beautiful and serene in the mountains of the famous monks, a peaceful interlude to share with your partner or family.
There's no shortage of accommodation, whether at the foot of the slopes in Les 3 Sommets, in the shade of Chamechaude in le petit skieur apartment, or between the treetops in the La Bordée hut, where you can fall asleep under the stars in a cosy cocoon.