grenoble. not.


For about three weeks in September, I convinced myself that I should go to Grenoble with API’s International Business & Business Studies Program. I would take classes at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

Courses are taught in English, which is important. As comfortable as I am in French, I don’t think I could handle Intermediate Microeconomics or International Business Law being taught in French.

There are two different housing options: homestays and residence halls. I would do residence halls and I was okay with it… kinda.


Grenoble (Occitan: Grasanòbol) is a city and commune in south-east France, situated at the foot of the Alps, at the confluence of the Drac into the Isère River. Located in the Rhône-Alpes région, Grenoble is the préfecture (capital) of the Isère département. Population of the city (commune) of Grenoble at the 1999 census was 153,317 inhabitants (157,900 inhabitants as of February 2004 estimates). Population of the whole metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) at the 1999 census was 514,559 inhabitants. (wikipedia.com)

I much as I’m embarrased to admit it… There were two things that really worried me:

  • Difficulty of the classes. I don’t want to go abroad and spend all of my time studying
  • Availability of activites. I hate the cold – Skiing, Snowboarding are fun once in a while but spending four months in the Alps is something that really appeals to fans of such things.
  • Quality of night life. see below.

The Grenoble Ecole de Management says:

There are many busy bars centered around Place Notre Dame, there is the London Pub which has 2 floors and is packed with all nationalities every night, (open until 1am), there is Café Notre Dame which is also a popular student haunt (open until 1am), and the Couche Tard (open until 2 am) rue Brocherie. The Couche Tard has happy hours every night from 8 to 10 pm and is extremely lively, it is popular with locals and students alike and will normally always have English speaking bar persons, and people dancing on tables is a common practice there.

Of course there are many other bars but these three are the most popular with foreign students. Nightclubs are ok but don’t get too excited, drinks are expensive (around 8/10 € for a drink) and the music is not fantastic according to international students but it’s somewhere to go after the bars shut.

The most popular for nightclub for students is the Vieux Manoir in Rue St Laurent, there is free entrance on Thursdays for everyone but you must pay on Friday and Saturdays to enter the nightclub, there is a bar as well inside which is free to enter on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and it stays open until 5 am.

Grenoble is a fantastic place to study and to meet people of all nationalities (British, Spanish, Scandinavian, Dutch, American, Mexican, Brazilian…).

Gotta say, that’s not too convincing.

According to world66.com, there are sixteen bars. Good news, I guess. However, what I kept hearing from study abroad advisors, API advisors, my french advisors, people I talked to… If I wanted a nightlife, I would have to seek it out. But I’d be getting a more authentic French experience.

I don’t know. I guess my reasons for against Grenoble are dismissable, but I wasn’t excited about my decision. And that’s what matters most.