Life in Grenoble

Life in Grenoble

Friday, May 16, 2014

Zoe describes the life of a Grenoblois

Ok, so I’ve spent a bit of time here in Grenoble now… I’m getting to know life here and I’ve been integrating into French culture and what goes on in daily French life.

Obviously, there are regional differences when it comes to France – Grenoble is no different. You’ll find that no two French regions are quite the same – each city has its own culture and lifestyle. Grenoble, being right at the foot of the Alps (they don’t call it the Capital of the Alps for nothing) has a distinct way of life that is almost exclusive from its location and neighbors.

The city isn’t without its charms and quirks, so here’s the lowdown on some of the things that get to you over time.

So, without further ado… You know you’re living in Grenoble when:

You know to pack a raincoat… even when it’s scorching – Sadly, wearing shorts just because the day started off at 65 degrees is not going to cut it. Believe me, when you least expect it, the heavens will open and you’ll get caught out. The rain can arrive suddenly off the mountains and for the first few weeks it will catch you out. No matter, because after a while you’ll have learnt to pack that raincoat or umbrella just in case.

You remember that a coffee is just an espresso – For a little time, you will forget this. You’ll ask for a coffee and you get a little thimble. No, I really didn’t pay nearly 2 euros for something that you could drink in one shot. Eventually, you’ll learn that you need to ask for an ‘allongé’ to get anything larger than something fit for a small rodent.

This is common all over France but especially true of Grenoble, where in the winter months all you want is a nice large coffee to warm you up…

You know the difference between Gratin Dauphinois and Tartiflette – Grenoble locals will almost be offended if you confuse the two. Everyone round here obviously knows that the latter has got bacon in it and it comes from the local area. Tartiflette is a local specialty and is almost a regional pride kind of thing. Speaking of which….

You understand that Chartreuse is to be consumed carefully – The first time someone offers it, you love the idea of having one of them – it’s like tequila, right? Nope. Next thing you know, you wake up in the morning with a colossal headache wondering why this is happening to you.

Chartreuse is to be enjoyed sparingly – the odd error of ‘one too many’ will serve as a very timely reminder to you.

You know every tram and bus stop within a three mile radius including their schedules– At first it confuses you no end… I mean, the wide range of options to get from A to B is baffling and the way you pay looks all strange. However, once you get yourself a pass and you begin to understand where all the stops are, everything else becomes really easy. You’ll even be able to imitate the female announcer’s voice for each stop on the tram.

The walk up the Bastille ‘isn’t that bad’ – Once you’ve been up the first time, you realize it isn’t so bad. Honest.

You get annoyed by all the skiers clogging up the trams in the skiing season – You wouldn’t think there could be so many skiers on planet earth, could you? Nope, you’re wrong. They ALL descend on the city for their skiing breaks and they make life impossible for the average resident.

You can be sunburnt and frostbitten all in the space of a week – I’m ridiculously pale. You get the idea.


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