Joanne Jones from Norfolk was the lucky winner of our recent competition to win a weekend in the charming French city of Grenoble. Joanne was kind enough to send us a few words about her trip for our blog.
“What a fabulous experience! Everything went very smoothly on our trip to Grenoble last week and we had a really good time. Travelling on Eurostar was exciting, especially by Standard Premier. I could get used to that! The high speed journey on a TGV train was even more exciting and so comfortable. We arrived in the dark and couldn't wait to see our surroundings the next day. We were thrilled to find a carrier bag waiting for us with all the prize winner goodies as well as a collection of stunning photographs, a couple of bottles of Chartreuse, a poster of Grenoble by night, entry tickets for the various activities and invitations to have tea and cakes in the afternoon and the evening meal up at the Bastille in the evening.
We woke up to see the mountains topped with snow. Grenoble has mountain views from almost every street. We went straight to the Information Centre and picked up our headphones and maps for an audio tour of the city. We love doing that and never want to miss a thing. There were twenty-three stops with interesting information and extended details if we wished. We stood outside the old house where Liszt once stayed and listened to some of his music, and outside the Place de Verdun we learned about Monsieur Poubelle, the Prefect who tried for many years to get the town to use covered waste bins. He managed it after about thirteen years. Ever since then he has given his name to the waste bin.
We loved the Halle St Clair, which is now an indoor market, and we bought our favourite cheeses. The Cathedral Square was beautiful too, especially at night when the outline of the ancient baptistery is marked out in lights in front of the cathedral. By mid afternoon we were flagging a bit so went in search of the Pignol Sainte-Cecile. Oh, and we sampled confections and cakes to die for and celebrated pastries from a prestigious chocolatier from Lyons. We thought it would be a simple cake, but no, after we had chosen our treat we were shown into the tearoom and they were brought to us along with a selection of hand made little fruit macaroons and some wonderful, wonderful chocolates!
Of course we took the Globe up to the Bastille where the view of the city is fantastic. Later, we took a taxi up to the restaurant at the top for our gourmet meal. We sat by the huge windows looking right down over the whole valley and city, lit by thousands of lights and further out, near the mountains, the lights all twinkled with the slight heat haze. It was utterly magical. As if all that wasn't enough, our meal was superb and we were wined and dined in great style. Beautifully cooked and presented food, with a touch of Monsieur Gras' speciality, vanilla. I shall be cooking my Dauphinois potatoes with a drop of vanilla from now – it’s wonderful.
The Piece de Resistance? Well, of course, the house speciality, the Foie Gras that came from an old family recipe. We would have bought some the next day from his market stand but it was fantastically expensive, so we just admired it.
Everybody was so kind and friendly and we feel so very grateful to Rail Europe and Rhone-Alpes Tourism for sending us on such a wonderful break.”
Fancy seeing Grenoble for yourself? Return tickets start at just £109. Find out more in our destination guide