Summer is the rush to the sea, the preferred destination for vacationers who don’t mind having trouble finding a place on the beach to lay down their towel. But for those who (really) can’t stand the hubbub and want a little more peace and quiet, nothing better than to prefer the mountain option . It’s less crowded, it’s cheaper and it’s the assurance of treating yourself to a real well-being cure. For a relaxing holiday , in the fresh air but not without doing anything… We tested Isère, in the heart of the Alps. And we advise you to do the same. Why ?
Because Isère is a hiking paradise…
You don’t need to be a top athlete to get started. Good shoes recommended and early start required (we get up early… we go to bed early), you will probably have a little trouble covering the 9,000 kilometers of marked hiking trails that mark out the department. Yes, all that. But for a mini or maxi course, easy or a little more demanding, you will be spoiled for choice. Everyone has their own pace and level of difficulty!
In the footsteps of the Huguenots (which retraces the exile of Protestants from Dauphiné and can take you as far as Germany if you feel like it)… Through the Trièves, Matheysine, Pays Voironnais or Oisans… Between massifs and valleys, lakes and typical mountain villages… A common point to all this? It’s natural space galore and breathtaking scenery every time you turn your head.
A good place to stop : the Gai Soleil Du Mont-Aiguille (at the foot of Mont-Aiguille as its name suggests), in the town of Chichilianne.
… and cycling
As for the hike, everyone can get started. Especially when you opt for an electric bike , it immediately hurts your legs less! You will be surprised to be able to climb the slightest slope effortlessly or almost (turbo mode activated)… Here again, it is not the routes that are lacking. For example, around Lake Paladru (that of the famous peasant-knights of the year 1000… which now has its own museum), you will certainly be amazed. And beach laying is also possible.
A good place to eat : Hôtel des Bains, in Charavines (guinguette atmosphere!)
Because in Isère, you can discover the vertigo of La Mure
Beautiful but not brand new (it was born in 1888), the little train of La Mure restarted in 2021 after ten years of closure. Open from April to early November, freshly painted in its flamboyant red, it will take you to Monteynard. A dizzying journey (but not too much) in the footsteps of miners. And if you finish the route on foot to the Belvédère du Grand Balcon (just a few meters, huh), on arrival, it’s the impression of having landed in paradise with a breathtaking view of the Drac valley, its dam and its lake with turquoise waters. If an “Oh wow!” “ , do not escape your mouth, it is to understand nothing!
Because in Isère, we eat very well
It is the country of cheese… Raclette or tartiflette but not only. We also enjoy ravioli (with cheese, the base), frog legs, trout. And chocolate too, the must-have is Bonnat in Voiron (best in the world, without a doubt!). City which is also home to one of the most famous digestive there is: the Chartreuse (yellow or green) – to be consumed in moderation. An elixir made from 130 medicinal and aromatic plants, flowers, bark, roots and spices… But the recipe is classified top secret, it has been carefully kept by the monks since the dawn of time (or not far). Even Google can’t give it to you!
A good place to stay : Hôtel Mille Pas, Voiron.
Because in Isère, we (re)discover Grenoble
Three hours from Paris by TGV, Grenoble is the capital of Isère, the capital of the Alps… and of scientific research. Olympic city (in 1968), green city, “patchwork” city due to its history (since the Romans), its heritage and its architectural style, it oscillates between tradition and modernity. Grenoble is 11 free museums, its Perret tower (first reinforced concrete tower in the world), gardens, its statue of Titeuf at the Sainte-Cécile convent (where Glénat editions are based). A street art festival – since 2015. No less than 400 kilometers of cycle paths – and sometimes an astonishing cohabitation between bicycles, scooters and pedestrians…
And since the region is synonymous with good food, we treat ourselves by booking at Fantin-Latour , a gourmet restaurant with an extraordinary garden which, at the start of 2021, won 1 Michelin star. We will delight in the ultra creative menus inspired by nature by chef Stéphane Froidevaux. Who every Monday at 5 a.m. (even before the hikers) goes to pick in the mountains…
But the most essential – and emblematic of the city, are its bubbles . That is to say its urban cable car, one of the very first in the world (after Cape Town in South Africa and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil). 6 minutes to get to the Bastille – 1 hour to climb on foot if you are afraid of heights or if it is too windy. From up there, the view is just phew. And if you’re lucky, you might see a bit of Mont Blanc.