Saint-Martin-d’Hères is a beautiful city located in the Isère department in southeastern France. It is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural surroundings. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or a lover of art and culture, Saint-Martin-d’Hères offers a range of attractions and activities to suit your interests. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in the city:
1. Campus of the University of Grenoble Alpes
Saint-Martin-d’Hères is home to the main campus of the University of Grenoble Alpes, which is one of the leading universities in France. Take a stroll through the campus, explore the beautiful architecture, and soak in the lively academic atmosphere
2. Parc de l’Île d’Amour
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Parc de l’Île d’Amour. This serene park is located on an island in the middle of the Drac River and offers beautiful walking trails, picnic spots, and scenic views. It’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.
3. Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation de l’Isère
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History enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit this museum dedicated to the Resistance and Deportation during World War II. The museum provides insights into the local resistance movement and showcases artifacts, photographs, and personal stories.
4. Fort de la Bastille
While not in Saint-Martin-d’Hères itself, a short trip to nearby Grenoble is worth it to visit Fort de la Bastille. This historic fortress offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. You can reach the fort by taking the iconic “Bastille Cable Car” for a memorable ride.
5. Chartreuse Natural Regional Park
If you’re a nature lover and enjoy outdoor activities, head to the nearby Chartreuse Natural Regional Park. This stunning park is known for its lush forests, towering mountains, and picturesque landscapes. Hiking, mountain biking, and skiing are popular activities in the park, depending on the season.
6. Le Parc de la Fiancee du Dauphin
This charming park is an ideal place to spend a leisurely afternoon. With its well-manicured lawns, colorful flower beds, and tranquil atmosphere, it’s perfect for a picnic or a relaxing stroll.
7. Local Cuisine
Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cuisine of Saint-Martin-d’Hères. Indulge in regional dishes like gratin dauphinois (potato gratin), ravioles du Dauphiné (small cheese-filled pasta), and Chartreuse liqueur, which is produced in the region.
8. Le Patio
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Located in the heart of Saint-Martin-d’Hères, Le Patio is a lively square lined with cafés, restaurants, and shops. It’s a great place to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.
9. Le Grand Séchoir – Maison du Pays de la Noix
Just a short drive from Saint-Martin-d’Hères, you’ll find Le Grand Séchoir, a museum dedicated to walnuts and the region’s walnut culture. Learn about the history, cultivation, and traditional uses of this local delicacy through interactive exhibits, workshops, and tastings.
10. Domaine de Vizille
Approximately 20 kilometers from Saint-Martin-d’Hères lies the Domaine de Vizille, a magnificent estate encompassing a castle and beautiful gardens. Explore the castle, which houses the Museum of the French Revolution, showcasing historical artifacts and exhibitions related to this significant period in French history. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and gardens, featuring ponds, sculptures, and lush greenery.
11. Local Markets
Experience the vibrant local culture and flavors by visiting the markets in and around Saint-Martin-d’Hères. The Grenoble farmers’ market, held on weekends, offers a wide variety of fresh produce, regional specialties, and artisanal products. It’s an excellent opportunity to taste local cheeses, pastries, and other culinary delights.
12. Les Granges de la Brasque
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Nature enthusiasts will appreciate Les Granges de la Brasque, a natural reserve situated just outside Saint-Martin-d’Hères. This protected area boasts diverse flora and fauna, and you can enjoy hiking trails that lead you through forests, meadows, and picturesque landscapes.
13. La Casamaures
A unique architectural gem, La Casamaures is a Moorish-inspired villa located on the outskirts of Saint-Martin-d’Hères. This 19th-century landmark features intricate designs, vibrant colors, and exotic elements, creating a captivating atmosphere. Guided tours allow visitors to explore the interior and learn about its history.
14. Outdoor Recreation at Lac Achard
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Located near Saint-Martin-d’Hères, Lac Achard is a picturesque mountain lake surrounded by forests. It’s a fantastic spot for outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, or simply enjoying the peaceful ambiance. During the summer months, you can also rent paddleboats or canoes to explore the lake.
15. Visit Grenoble
Saint-Martin-d’Hères is situated close to Grenoble, a vibrant city known as the “Capital of the Alps.” Take a short trip to Grenoble and explore its historic center, visit the Museum of Grenoble to admire its extensive art collection, or ride the Téléphérique de Grenoble for stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
16. Cultural Events and Festivals
Saint-Martin-d’Hères hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year. Check the local event calendar to see if any festivals, concerts, or exhibitions coincide with your visit. The city comes alive with music, dance, art, and performances, providing a glimpse into the local culture and traditions.
17. Parc Paul Mistral
In Grenoble, you’ll find Parc Paul Mistral, a vast urban park that offers a range of activities for all ages. It features open green spaces, playgrounds, sports facilities, and even a small zoo. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or engage in recreational activities like cycling, rollerblading, or playing tennis.
18. Alpine Excursions
Saint-Martin-d’Hères serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning Alpine landscapes. Take a day trip to nearby mountain destinations such as Les Deux Alpes or Alpe d’Huez, where you can enjoy breathtaking views, hiking trails, mountain biking, or even skiing and snowboarding during the winter season.
19. Enjoy Local Cuisine and Cafés
Indulge in the gastronomic delights of the region by dining at local restaurants or cozy cafés in Saint-Martin-d’Hères and Grenoble. Sample regional specialties like fondue, raclette, or tartiflette, accompanied by delicious local wines. Don’t forget to try some of the famous Chartreuse liqueur, produced in the region.
20. Art and Music
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Saint-Martin-d’Hères has a thriving art and music scene. Keep an eye out for art galleries and exhibitions showcasing local and contemporary artists. Additionally, you can attend concerts or performances at venues like Le Summum or Le Belle Électrique in Grenoble for an evening of entertainment.
21. Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain
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Located in Grenoble, Le Magasin is a contemporary art center that hosts innovative exhibitions and installations by both renowned and emerging artists. Explore the cutting-edge world of contemporary art and engage in thought-provoking experiences.
22. Les Halles Sainte-Claire
In the heart of Grenoble, Les Halles Sainte-Claire is a vibrant indoor market where you can discover a wide array of fresh produce, gourmet products, and local specialties. Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere, indulge in culinary delights, and shop for unique ingredients to take home.
Places and Things To Do