The Bastille of Grenoble is the city’s most obvious tourist attraction. You can see it from most of the city centre.
A Lazy Morning
We went for a lazy breakfast at a branch of “Paul” which was right next to our apartment block. We toyed with the idea of going next door but not for long. It didn’t actually have much that would constitute breakfast. OK, so we sat down. Then we got up two or three times looking for a menu. We failed.
The girls were in various states of grump because the weren’t sure about anything and didn’t want anything they’d end up not liking. It caused me a bit of a sense of humour crisis. We were at the point where nobody seemed happy. OK, so let’s go somewhere else. We walked into “Paul” next door. They had a grand array of sandwiches and pastries. And they were all neatly laid out behind the counter and labelled. Being able to point is much better when trying to order food in a language you don’t speak very well. We grabbed a handful of breakfastables and made our way to their outdoor tables. It was a rather warm day again.
Walking through Town
After breakfast we headed off for our primary target for the day – a trip up to Grenoble’s Bastille (see Grenoble’s Bastille). This is a prominent feature from most of the city centre, because unlike the Parisian Bastille, Grenoble’s is on top of a mountain. I guess the prison builders in Paris didn’t have the option to put theirs on a mountain.
The foot of the mountain was about 1.5km away from where we were staying, and involved a leisurely walk through the old town centre. This gave us the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing and a couple of geocaches before we eventually found our way to the bottom station of the Téléphérique that leads up to the Bastille. There was another geocache at the bottom station, which I was obviously duty-bound to look for.
The ride up in the bubbles was like sitting in a greenhouse on a sunny day for 10 minutes. It was a bit warm. We got our own back in some small way by completing a virtual geocache. It required us to photograph our thumbs, with a ghost drawn on them, whilst rattling over the one and only supporting pylon on the cable-car. In your face, sunshine ! You’re not going to stop us from acting like children…
At the top of the Bastille the view is fantastic. It was a little cloudy the day we were there, so the tops of the Belledonne massif were a bit hidden from view, but the view over the city towards the south and the view west towards the Vercors was excellent. I loved this place the first time I went up there, maybe 40 years previously, and I loved it again.
The fortress has been improved somewhat since my last visit. There are now cafes, a couple of new buildings that house little museums, and some excellent information boards. These relate mainly to the geological features of the mountains that you can’t really appreciate from the valley floor. Several of these information boards had earthcaches attached to them, so that kept me occupied for a little while. A little too long though, so it seemed. The heat was taking its toll. Even up here Kas somehow had managed to trip up on something and make herself bleed.
We beat a tactical retreat from the tops of the buildings and retired to a shaded bit. We needed to collect our thoughts and formulate a plan of action. Our plans generally end up being more acceptable to the majority of the family if they are formulated with the assistance of ice-cream, so that’s how we did it.
Down we go!
The plan involved walking down again rather than catching the bubbles. Downhill is easier than uphill, and there are multiple routes down the mountain. These pass through different types of scenery on a theme of “wooded hillside with bastion walls”. We picked the route to the east side, which had a greater quantity of geocaches on the way down. It was slightly further to walk downhill, but it drops you off in a better place.
The walk down was entertaining, although the kids were grumpy. It turned out that they were grumpy because the caches were all earthcaches, with nothing to actually find. As soon as we reached ones that had actual boxes to find then the mood picked up quite a lot. Ami enjoyed scrambling up a bank and through some trees to fetch one. She was then doubly pleased when she pulled out one cache that I’d been staring at for a couple of minutes without recognising it.
Once back at the bottom of the Bastille we were about ready for a break again. We stumbled into a nearby bar and had a beer whilst waiting for what turned out to be some beautifully hand-cooked chips. I think it was “La Renaissance” on Place aux Herbes – a pleasant little square in the old town.
From here, the ladies of the house decided they wanted to spend the rest of their afternoon snoozing and shopping, so they wandered off in the general direction of home while I went off for a few more geocaches. For this phase I stayed down in the city centre, checking off a selection of real and virtual caches.
I got the routing wrong and walked backwards and forwards quite a lot, but made a pretty decent sweep. I returned to the famous Grenoble Helicoidal Garage where we’d failed at earlier in the day. When I went back, the table was clear, but the cache wasn’t there anyway. The owner of the bar that owned the table came out to direct me further along the street. Once I was in the right place I found the cache immediately. I thought it was therefore reasonable to say thanks by buying a drink from him.
Subsequent walking took me to a selection of the best bits of Grenoble, including the old Roman walls, the Lycée Stendhal and Place Verdun. It was a bit of a throwback to 40 years previously – which was the last time I’d walked around here. Memories now rebooted and updated to the modern era. I toyed with the idea of walking round to Parc Paul Mistral too, but eventually decided that it was time for a break rather than time for another hour and a half of caching.
A Quiet Evening
We went for dinner fairly early to a pizza place in Caserne de Bonne. Because we were back fairly early, I was able to sit up for a while trying to collate notes. I’d set a new personal best for the number of earthcaches found on the same day. I didn’t finish them though.
Relatively early to bed, because Kas was going to run back to the Bastille in the morning, so she wanted to be in the snoozy zone fairly early.