Grenoble is the prefecture and largest city of the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of South-eastern France. It is located within the Dauphiné province and lies where the river Drac joins the Isère at the foot of the French Alps. It is the largest metropolis in the Alps, ahead of Innsbruck and Bolzano. A significant European scientific centre, the city advertises itself as the "Capital of the Alps", due to its size and its proximity to the mountains. The many suburb communes that make up the rest of the metropolitan area include four with populations exceeding 20,000: Saint-Martin-d'Hères, Échirolles, Fontaine and Voiron.
Grenoble's history goes back over 2,000 years, to a time when it was a village of the Allobroges Gallic tribe. It became the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century. This status, consolidated by the annexation to France, allowed it to develop its economy. Grenoble then became a parliamentary and military city, close to the border with Savoy. Industrial development increased the prominence of Grenoble through several periods of economic expansion over the last three centuries. This started with a booming glove industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, continued with the development of a strong hydropower industry in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and ended with a post-World War II economic boom symbolised by the holding of the X Olympic Winter Games in 1968.
The city has grown to be one of Europe's most important research, technology and innovation centres, with one in five inhabitants working directly in these fields. The city will hold the title of European Green Capital in 2022.
Industry occupies a large part of the local economy. High-tech industries have a significant presence, especially in the field of semiconductors, electronics and biotechnology. STMicroelectronics, Schneider Electric and Soitec have major manufacturing and R&D facilities. Traditional industries in fields such as heavy equipment manufacturing and chemistry are still present and include Caterpillar, GE Renewable Energy and Arkema. The town was once famous for glove manufacturing, for which Xavier Jouvin introduced an innovative technique in the 19th century. A few small companies keep producing gloves for a very high end market.
Companies Among the largest employers in the Grenoble metropolitan area are: STMicroelectronics, Grenoble and Crolles, Semiconductor manufacturing, R&D; Schneider Electric, Grenoble agglomeration, Electrical equipment, R&D; Caterpillar France, Grenoble and Echirolles, Construction of heavy equipment; Hewlett Packard France, Eybens, Computer science; Becton Dickinson, Pont-de-Claix, R&D and production of advanced systems for drugs administration; Carrefour, Grenoble agglomeration, Hypermarkets; Capgemini, Grenoble,Information technology consulting and IT service management; Groupe Casino, Grenoble agglomeration, Supermarkets; Samse, Grenoble agglomeration, Supplier of building materials; Soitec, Bernin, Semiconductor manufacturer specialised in the production of SOI wafers.
The presence of companies such as HP or Caterpillar in the area has drawn many American and British workers to Grenoble, especially in the surrounding mountain villages. The region has the second largest English-speaking community in France, after Paris. That community has an English-speaking Church and supports the International School. Many of these Americans, British, Australians etc. go to Grenoble with the intention of returning home after some time but the mountains and general life style often keep them there. Some choose to put their children in the international school "cité internationale", while the "American School of Grenoble" is the alternative for those who prefer to have the core curriculum in English. With numerous associations like Open House, this large English speaking population organizes family events making life in Grenoble harder to turn away from.
Publisher Glénat has its head office in Grenoble. Inovallée is a science park with about 12,000 jobs located at Meylan and Montbonnot-Saint-Martin near Grenoble. téléGrenoble Isère is the local TV channel with France 3 Alpes. The local newspaper is Le Dauphiné libéré.
Grenoble is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Grenoble was ranked #427 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Grenoble has a population of over 158,552 people. Grenoble also forms part of the wider Grenoble metropolitan area which has a population of over 687,985 people. Grenoble is the #134 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.064 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.