Combining relaxation and productivity, Grenoble is a scientific bastion set among the majesty of the French Alps.
Referred to as the “Capital of the Alps,” Grenoble is a French city like no other. Due to its proximity to the borders of Italy and Switzerland, it’s a truly global city that is welcoming to all travelers, regardless of their origin. Grenoble is also a major scientific center within Europe, making it appealing to remote workers in STEM industries. Surrounded by mountains, it’s a fantastic city for fans of clean air and the great outdoors. This is a uniquely innovative and forward-thinking nation that attracts creative remote workers. Grenoble is becoming increasingly popular with digital nomads due to its high concentration of tech companies. These provide plenty of jobs and represent a significant proportion of the French economy. It’s also particularly popular with environmentalist organizations and has been chosen as the European Green Capital for 2022. Living costs are substantially lower than Paris but it retains a lot of the traditional French charm that tourists seek.
Where to live in Grenoble
Grenoble has incredibly picturesque neighborhoods as well as some you may want to avoid. Although the city is generally safe, it has a reputation for being a hub of serious crime. In fact, despite its small size, Grenoble has a level of crime comparable to that of Paris. Inner-city neighborhoods like Villeneuve, Fontaine, and Sassenage have bad reputations. Somewhat uniquely, the best areas of the city are found on the outskirts, where you can live in a fancy villa at the foot of some spectacular mountains.
Best Neighborhoods in Grenoble
You can often tell whether an area of Grenoble offers a nice living environment just by looking at it. Central neighborhoods lined with ugly 1960s tower blocks are more likely to offer higher crime rates and a low quality of life. Instead, find a pleasant village in the outskirts of the city. That’s where the exciting tech startup and environmentalist scene exists. Because of the mountainous surroundings, you should aim to live on the south side of the valley. These are the nicer, more expensive properties that benefit from the most amount of sunshine.
Amazing Apartments, Coliving Spaces and More
We've been rounded up the best housing options in Grenoble. All are available on flexible terms, so you can stay one month or as long as you want
Quick Facts About GrenobleGrenoble is one of the less well-known cities in France, especially when compared to the likes Paris and Lyon. However, it has many aspects that make it a fascinating place to live. Before you visit any city, it's useful to learn a bit about it to get a sense of its character. So if you’re looking to get to know the city before you visit, here are 10 quick and fun facts about Grenoble:
Grenoble holds some of the world’s best festivalsSeveral festivals are located in Grenoble. This includes the Open Air Short Film Festival and the Cabaret Frappé music festival. There are many concert halls and art centers to accommodate these cultural events.
Grenoble is home to the brightest mindsTop scientists and researchers are proud to call Grenoble their home. In fact, one in five residents works in technology and innovation industries.
Grenoble was vital during the French RevolutionThe French Revolution wasn’t just important to the French but for the whole world. It helped to establish free, equal, and democratic societies. In support of these ideals, Grenoble changed its name to Grelibre so that it would include the French word for freedom.
Grenoble is highly innovativeThe academic talent of Grenoble also contains a creative spark. Forbes listed the city as being the fifth most inventive in the world.
Grenoble is committed to environmentalismGrenoble uses its technological knowledge to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. They’ve already come down by more than 25% since 2005 and are aiming for a 50% reduction by 2030. The city also has a number of eco-neighborhoods and cycling is the norm.
Grenoble is known for its nutsFrance is well-known for its cheese and wine but Grenoble has its own claim to fame: walnuts. Called Noix de Grenoble, they’re one of the finest foods to come out of the region.
Grenoble has a larger population than you’d thinkAlthough the city itself contains just over 150,000 residents, Grenoble should be seen in terms of its whole metropolitan area. When you include surrounding communes, the population almost reaches 700,000, making it the largest urban area in the entire Alps.
Grenoble is a global cityWhile some cities focus on national heritage, Grenoble is outward-looking. It hosts a staggering 90 conferences each year. A third of these are international and feature topics ranging from molecular biology to entrepreneurship.
Work in Grenoble
Work is plentiful in Grenoble, which has more research jobs than anywhere else in France. It’s the second-highest employer of engineers in the country as well. If your sector lies within the science or technology sector, then this could be the perfect city for you. However, there are also plenty of other work opportunities including in hospitality and tourism. The largest employers include Schneider Electric, STMicroelectronics, and Roche, which functions in the pharmaceuticals sector. Given the technological infrastructure required to maintain these industries, there are plenty of amenities for remote workers.
How good is Grenoble for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Grenoble. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Grenoble for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedGiven the technological prowess of the city, it’s no surprise that residents in Grenoble have access to fast fiber-optic broadband. Tests reveal that internet speeds range from 13.17 to 99.35 Mbps which is plenty for most workers.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsFrance is known for its quaint, charming old cafés and bistros. When in Grenoble, you just have to try working in one of the following beautiful coffee shops: Café de la Table Ronde: If you find historical buildings relaxing, then you’ll love this coffee shop in the heart of Grenoble’s Old Town. It’s the second oldest café in France which gives it a huge amount of character. Eyes Café: Large wooden tables and comfortable sofas make this an ideal spot to set up your laptop and get a few hours of work in. It’s a truly relaxing space that doubles as an art gallery. Café des Alpes: If you love working with a view, then nothing beats Café des Alpes. It’s not too far from the city but you feel like you’re high up in the mountains, which is where the greatest artists find their inspiration.
Coworking SpacesGrenoble has a highly productive, technology-minded workforce. This means that there are plenty of top-quality coworking spaces but here are some of the best: Kifwork: A small but functional office space, Kifwork can be rented flexibly if you want a dedicated and more private work environment. Cowork In Grenoble: The name says it all, really. Cowork in Grenoble has been designed from the beginning for remote workers and digital nomads, offering access to a community of 450 coworkers. Le TOTEM: A brightly lit and spacious office building, this coworking space is designed for those in the tech industry, although welcoming to all. You can book it for a whole month or a single hour, giving you the ultimate flexibility. If you’ve chosen to live outside of the city center, then you may often find yourself working from home or local coffee shops. However, on occasion, you should consider venturing into the center where the coworking spaces are located to give your productivity a boost.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsCoworking and coliving spaces are becoming increasingly common in Grenoble, as this progressive economy recognizes the value of remote workers. Although living costs are reasonably high, they’re no higher than in any other major French city. In fact, they’re far lower than in Paris and many Swiss cities just over the border. Local residents are hardworking but are able to relax by taking advantage of the incredible natural scenery of the Alps. If this is your kind of vibe, then Grenoble is perfect for you. If not, then there are limitless other options for digital nomads.
Visa RequirementsYou can easily access France as long as you have the right to reside in the EU. As a tourist, this is possible visa-free for 90 days out of every 180. This allows you to come as a tourist but also to do business. Although unlikely, immigration staff may ask to see an onward ticket or proof of funds before allowing you to enter. If entering from another EU country, there may not be any checks at all so you’ll likely just enter freely without so much as taking out your passport. If you’re planning to stay for longer than three months, then you’ll need a residence permit. This long-stay passport may be on the grounds of personal reasons, professional reasons, for education, or to stay with family members. The French immigration system isn’t too strict and US citizens rarely have problems.
Food and Drink in Grenoble
Is there a nationality that takes food more seriously than the French? From the wine and cheese to the frogs’ legs and snails, all French cities offer exquisite cuisine. However, what you find in Grenoble differs somewhat from what you find in Paris. The southeast is particularly well-known for its raviole du dauphiné, which is a kind of pasta filled with creme fraiche and cheese. You’ll find it in all good restaurants in Grenoble, including Café de la Table Ronde and Restaurant L'Épicurien. This region is also known for its blue cheese made to absolute perfection. Pair it with a beautiful glass of chartreuse, which is an ancient liqueur made in the region. Herbal and floral in taste, it was supposedly first created by an 18th-century monk to be used as a medicine. To experience authentic French wine while in Grenoble, head to Le Zinc, Le Quintessence, or A Saint Bruno. Given its location, Grenoble also has a range of authentic Italian and Swiss restaurants giving you options from abroad if you get bored of the local food scene. Don’t shy away from tasting the best that southeastern France has to offer though, even if it’s just a few walnuts.
Top 6 Things To Do in Grenoble
Grenoble’s Old Town should be your first stop, taking in the ancient French building style. From here, you can access the Bastille and a number of museums, including the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation, Musée de l’Ancien Évêché, the Dauphinois Museum, and the Archaeological Museum. This will get you up to speed with the fascinating history of the area. Outside of this, Grenoble is all about outdoor activities. Take the cable car up the mountain for winter skiing or head to the alpine lakes for one of the world’s most refreshing swimming sessions.
Appartement natal de Stendhal
14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Grenoble
20 Grande Rue, Grenoble
8 Espl. Andry Farcy, Grenoble
24 Quai de France, Grenoble
Grenoble Archaeological Museum
Place Saint-Laurent, Grenoble
Place Notre Dame, Grenoble