We chose a stop at Vizille, which is just 10km outside of Grenoble, for just one night but it was so lovely we stayed on for 4 nights. Some campsites just have a comfortable feel to them and the area outside was nice.
The first day we cycled along the river which was really lovely and into the village of Vizille to visit the Chateau. We locked up our bikes outside a building that we thought was the Chateau and there were plenty of people going in only to find that it was the polling station and the French were out voting in the first part of the French Elections. We quickly walked out feeling a bit embarrassed. Outside we took another look at our map and could see that the Chateau we were looking for was just around the corner.
The Chateau is pretty impressive and houses the museum of the French Revolution. A bonus was that it was free admission, which makes a nice change. The museum was interesting and spread over several floors. Although it was all in French we enjoyed looking at the large-scale paintings evoking the era which followed the logical thread of the historical sequence of events. The paintings were like stepping into Les Miserables.
The park is stunning, relaxing and big enough not to feel overcrowded even on a warm day. The Mountains were a beautiful backdrop. There were lots of families playing ball and enjoying a picnic on the grass. There were also pony rides for the children. A river runs through the centre of the park with streams and waterfalls from it. There were also statues and flowers dotted around and a nature reserve with deer and animals at the other end.
Monday morning was another lovely sunny warm day so we decided to get the bus into Grenoble. This time we walked into the village but was surprised that at 10.30 all the shops were closed. Thinking it must be some kind of a bank holiday we didn’t know about we asked at the café in the village but was told that they didn’t open on a Monday (a bit like our half day on a Wednesday years ago).
Unfortunately, we had just missed the bus by minutes so had to wait an hour for the next one which wasn’t a good start to the day. When it finally arrived Ray tried to pay the driver but she waved us on. We can only presume that the machine might not be working but then we wondered if we should have purchased a ticket at a shop (which is what you have to do in some parts of Italy). If that was the case we couldn’t understand why the receptionist back at the campsite hadn’t informed us when she gave us the bus timetable. Anyway, we forgot about it until the journey back then with just minutes before the bus was due we started to wonder if maybe they didn’t take cash. Our French isn’t at all good and we couldn’t find anyone who spoke English so we had to take a chance but luckily the driver did take our cash this time.
We had planned to go on the cable car to La Bastille while we were in Grenoble but as we got up close we changed our mind and didn’t think it would be worth the money or queueing. Looking up the mountain all we could see were derelict buildings.
We wandered around the town, which was ok but there was nothing really special about it. Transport system looked efficient and there were plenty of trams around.