Destinations Expat Life France Grenoble

5 Things That I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Grenoble

December 4, 2017

Hi friends. Now, before I get into this post, I am going to add a little disclaimer because some people get really pride-bitten when people share negative experiences that they’ve had in their cities. Many Grenoble-folk have recently sent me hate messages when I once mentioned online that I am happier in Paris (there’s this weird Paris-hating trend everywhere). I have been promoting Grenoble for the past 6 years on this website and on Instagram, but that does not mean that I have had only GREAT experiences here. Not everyone will love Grenoble. Not everyone will be able to find work in their field in Grenoble. Not everyone will like the culture. If you want to learn a few of the cons from an expat artist’s perspective, enjoy the post. 🙂 I am writing this post for my 23-year-old self, an optimistic American artist who moved to Grenoble determined to make it work — and for others who may find this information useful.

 

1.) The mountains are gorgeous, but you will start missing sunsets and horizon lines, and may even feel trapped (physically and emotionally). 

How can you not love looking at the three mountain ranges surrounding Grenoble? Okay, some people may not enjoy mountains, and I respect that. I am in Grenoble every month, and I still can’t help snapping away and sharing my photos on Instagram. Grenoble is known as the ‘Capital of the Alps’, for good reason, and the mountains and Bastille park is one of its main assets.
But, of course, there’s a catch. The mountains contribute to a ‘couvette’ culture (which I won’t get into…but it’s very linked to the local pride I was talking about and the hate that comes along with it any time you criticize their city! I literally got de-friended on Facebook by a grenobloise when I said that I prefer Paris over Grenoble). As my Grenoble friends have told me, not ever seeing a horizon line can affect one’s personality, one’s perspective, and I feel that this almost tiny detail has created an insular micro-culture within Grenoble that is very different from other French cities. This may be why people say that many Grenoblois(es) are ‘closed’ — however you want to interpret that. Once I left Grenoble to visit other small and big cities in France and abroad, I was always surprised on how nice and open people were in the art world. Now, if the French are known to be blasé, you should check out Grenoble — the infamous indifférence grenobloise that I constantly heard about upon moving there may very well do your head in.
I’ve come to realize that I am kind of crazy about sunsets. Since moving to Paris, I enjoy sunsets all the time. In New York, oh my, the sunsets are glorious (including the reflections on the glass buildings). And back home, growing up near the ocean, the sunsets were spectacular. I love the mountains, I love the water, I love sunsets….but you can’t have it all. Or can you? (I’m looking at you, Rio!)
Grenoble’s geography contributes to another important negative factor:

 

2.) Lack of clean air is a thing. And the weather may not be pleasant! 

Look, I was told early on that Grenoble is both the hottest AND coldest city in France. In my naivité, I thought, “Well, I’m a New Yorker. The weather can’t be worse here than in NYC!” New York has really, unbearable humid summers and very cold, yet dry, winters.
But, in Grenoble, you may not have AC in the summer (most apartments don’t have air-conditioning in France), and the winters are actually really cold —  a humid cold that I never experienced in the US. So, for the first time in my life, I was so hot in my apartment in Grenoble to the point where it was impossible to sleep. There was no AC, and the level of heat could not be helped with fans or with misted water. The humid-cold is felt deep in your bones. Also, I lived in an old building, and my apartment would not heat up properly, so I’d be shivering in my own apartment. With a life of extreme comfort in the US (always having had AC and good heating), this was hard to deal with and, thus, I was prone to getting sick.
Maybe even worse: the pollen and the pollution. Perhaps it has to do with the surrounding mountains (I’m not an expert on this), or not, but the pollen was unbearable for me (I never had allergies in the States), and I’d fall ill constantly. I had never experienced smog either, and walking around with red, burning eyes and choking on the polluted air is enough for me to never have children in the area. It was honestly a disturbing thing to experience heavy smog; to not have access to clean, breathable air. Even if just for a day.
I experienced both Grenoble and Paris during their peak pollution days last year, and the pollution in Paris, although felt, was not nearly on the choking/trying-to-hold-my-breath level of Grenoble’s.
Grenoble is great for outdoor sports, biking, hiking up the Bastille and so on…but what a bummer that it comes with so many negative health consequences.

 

 

3.) There are friendly people, and really stuck-up people. It depends on who you meet and where you work/interact with people. Artists beware. 

This is a sensitive subject, and due to the hate messages I have gotten from Grenoble folk, I won’t get into it in a frank, New-Yorker way. I went as deep as I am going to on point number One, which you may have already read above. I am not fond of the overall social culture (I have my own needs as a painter that are different from most), and as an artist, the small yet elitist contemporary art world in Grenoble was shockingly severe and xenophobic, with a few rare exceptions that took me 5 years to find. If you are not involved in the art world you may be confused, so I will try and be brief.
I have had some of my worst social experiences in France while in Grenoble — for example: at the CAB (Centre d’Art de la Bastille), with other local art associations and artists and with some of the graduates and staff from the local art school. I have had discussions with some of the Grenoble art school professors about this, who confirmed my observations and shed much light on the local elitist ways. A sort of insular, mafia mentality. Yet, I can go into a gallery or art school in Paris, New York or Geneva, and be welcomed in a bizarrely un-snobby way (Shouldn’t big cities be snobbier and more elitist than Grenoble?!). The local art world and its élitisme is really bizarre to me, and I won’t get too much into it. I’m not sure how relatable this is to most of my readers! But, local Grenoble artists (born and raised) who know the art world much better than me, have completely agreed with me. They are the ones who mentioned the “couvette” culture.  There are some cool, open-minded local artists and art-world people, but let’s just say, I can count them on one hand.

 

4.) It’s a rich area with a lot of jobs, but not for all. Jobs are a lot harder to come by than you would expect if you work outside of the main industries (semi-conductor/research/etc. industries). 

Some say, and even I may have said, “If you work hard and keep trying and being positive, you can make Grenoble work”. This is complete bologna.
If you live in a city where there are little to no jobs in your industry, you will probably not be happy. When you can’t pay your rent, cannot eat properly and can’t go on vacation, there’s not a positive outlook that’s going to help you out. You can be unemployed temporarily and still have hope, but as the years go on you’ll be wondering why you’re still living there.
I wish I knew my job options (or lack there-of) before coming here. As an anglophone expat, you can definitely find work if you’re dedicated and willing. Tant mieux if you speak French too. You can obtain an English-teaching certificate and teach in the private sector industry, for soutien-scholaire or elsewhere. You can do temp work. Perhaps work in a hotel or restaurant. For a start-up. You could, and should, visit the Women’s Working Network of Grenoble and other expat resources for advice and connections. I think that if you’ve just moved to Grenoble, as an expat or college student, that you should be excited, and that it is a great city to spend your first two years in France in (My first two years here were exciting!). I think if you’ve just moved here that you will probably have a great time with no regrets — there’s a ton to explore. Just look into this blog’s archives!
But, there may not be much variety and the jobs may not be ones you enjoy, and they may be very far from the industry you want to work in. This can be okay temporarily, for your first few years here, but perhaps not great for the long haul. And, I believe in rare chances: There could be an awesome, fulfilling job for an anglophone artist somewhere, but the odds are slimmer than in the bigger cities where your industry (eg: art) thrives in.
I disliked the lack of culture and diversity here so much, that even if I had THE dream job and was a millionaire, I would have still been miserable (after the first 2 honeymoon years). Money is important and you need it to survive and to enjoy a certain lifestyle, but money won’t make you love a city either.
If I got ONE job interview a year in Grenoble I was lucky. Since moving to Paris, I could get a job interview every TWO WEEKS! And, there are so many different job opportunities, in various fields…INCLUDING art! And I’m an expat with a degree that means nothing here. If I don’t like my job I can quit and easily find another. This ease of finding work, and interesting work at that, is probably one of the biggest things that shocked me when relocating to Paris from Grenoble.

 

5.) Lack of art, cultural stimulation and entertainment.

When it comes to fine art, Grenoble’s hayday was in the 1970’s. There were actually quite a few private art galleries at the time. There were artists being able to earn a living through art sales (this took place mostly in the antiquaires neighborhood). Since then, those artists (some of which I know personally) have re-located to other cities (mostly Paris) where they can continue to sell work. Today, Grenoble only has two private art galleries in the entire city (one of which only opened a year ago). The city has since transformed into a sports and science and research-centric town, and it continues into that direction. The Silicon Valley of France. The place where you go to ski.
There’s the absolutely gorgeous Musée de Grenoble, but if you want more fine art/contemporary art stimulation, you’re going to have to travel outside of the city. And Lyon won’t quite do it.
In Paris, I have been loving all of the art shows, the museums, the theaters and of course, the restaurants and nightlife. Grenoble’s nightlife scene just doesn’t do it for me. To each his own. The restaurants are limited. The bars are over-run by college students. If you’re a student from a small town and you’re moving to Grenoble, good news, it may be freakin’ awesome for you! When you’re in your mid-twenties and above: meh.

I have been promoting Grenoble online for six years. This is my first post about the other side of Grenoble — from my unique perspective. Think twice about leaving a hate comment. Trust me, I can go on and talk about the infamous crime and the drugs and all that, but I’ve made this list as small as possible, and I hope some of you find it interesting!

And for the Paris-haters; try living here first for a few years before you judge. I didn’t think I’d like Paris that much and was against moving here for a while, and I’ve realized that it is not at all like I thought it would be! It is a much more exciting, interesting and welcoming city that I could have ever imagined.

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18 Comments

  • Reply J. December 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    This was a great post. I’ve been more of a silent reader of your blog, but I moved to Grenoble about two years ago, and even though I loved it in the first few days, I lost my enthusiasm very soon. Now it’s grown on me a bit, but still, can’t wait to live in another place. I’ve experienced all the things that you mentioned, but from experience I learned not to bring them up, because people have this blind love for their beloved Grenoble, and they can’t take any criticism. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there!

    • Reply Grenobloise December 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Hi J,
      Thank you so much for your message!

      After all the hate on Instagram — the private messages insulting me — I thought… “You know what? I can back down and never mention it again, or I can NOT be afraid and make MORE noise.” I cannot stand bullies, and I’ve met too many of these types in Grenoble (and online), that it is actually what inspired, and gave me the courage, to finally make this post!

      For some reason one can talk about disliking (even hating) Paris, New York and other cities — but not precious Grenoble. Ugh! Even on a blog in an Anglophone Expat website, someone in the comments said they were not happy (in Grenoble), and the expat author of the blog replied saying “Well, looks like you need a change of attitude.”!

      I had two friends in Grenoble, from Grenoble… I had mentioned that I miss the art-world in New York, that in New York there are over 700 galleries and I miss all that art, all those shows….they became defensive saying that “Grenoble has a ton of culture” (Grenoble had ONE art gallery, with kitschy stuff, at the time), and continued to bully me online. I had to block them. I have a ton of these stories.

      So, it means so much to me that this post resonated with you. As I titled this post, these are things that NOBODY told me about before moving to Grenoble. A lot of these things took me over 5 years to completely wrap my head around. I know that this post will help some people.

      I lost my enthusiasm over time as well. As I mentioned in the post, I think it’s great for a year or two, especially for an expat still grasping onto the French language and culture. It can be a cool, temporary landing spot. By my 3rd year, the depression, the “being in an Alpine prison” thing, kicked in, in full force.

  • Reply Diane December 5, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Really interesting! I’ve never been to Grenoble, but I can see why its allure might not be for everyone and would wear off after a few years. The super hot summers and humid cold winters would not be my thing at all either. Glad you were able to make a change for yourself by moving to Paris. Life is too short! Wishing you a very merry holiday season! 😉

    • Reply Grenobloise December 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Hi Diane,
      I have been away from the blogging world for a while, so it’s so great to hear from you here! I did not think I was going to update this blog again this year, but recent events (Grenoble online bullies) inspired me. It’s very encouraging to hear from kind people, and fellow expats.
      The allure sure does wear off for some people, especially if you’re from a big city and are used to having a plethora of fun and stimulating things to do.
      I actually didn’t fully comprehend how bad the weather was in Grenoble until moving to Paris this year, which has a much more moderate climate! It’s not all at this grey, cold city that I kept hearing about!
      Yes, Life is short! If I had one regret, it is not having moved to Paris sooner!!
      Thanks. Have a fantastic holiday season as well! x

      • Reply Diane December 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        Ugh, it really saddens me to hear you’ve been hassled by bullies. I don’t understand people. You are entitled to your opinion and if someone doesn’t like it, they can just move along. Why try to tear you down while validating their own point of view? It’s so strange to me why people react like that.

        While reading this (and J’s comment also), it got me thinking about France in general and people’s rose-colored glasses mindset toward life here. Like if you say anything critical about France, you’re doing it wrong or must not be happy or any other host of reasons. People saying this are ones who probably never spent more than a week or two of vacation in France. As a blogger, it’s a super tiring attitude to encounter, when people think that life in France means life will be perfect and you just skip along with your wicker basket to the markets and live a perma-vacation. Not the case!
        Again, enjoyed the read!

  • Reply J. December 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Yes, the bullies … see why I’m not using my real, full name? They can find you! It’s a bit surprising because here in France you can complain about absolutely anything, which is something that I love! But not about Grenoble, apparently.

    Having browsed your blog for a while, I still have no idea how you survived here. It gets specially challenging in winter time!

    • Reply Grenobloise December 6, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Hi J. Yes, probably better off not to use your full name. If you ever want to contact me personally, feel free. This comment section is a safe place. I approve posts before they can be published as well, so if anyone tried to insult you, I would not approve their comment. So far I have not had a hate comment on this blog — it seems like the haters are more likely to PM me on Instagram.
      What do you mean about them finding you? You mean like, tracking you down and confronting you in real life, mafioso style?!
      I know right!… In France one can complain about everything EXCEPT this one tiny city in the Alps!

  • Reply k_sam December 7, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I spent the first five years of my time in France in Bretagne, and identified with pretty much everything you wrote here (except for the abundance of jobs in my region lol). It was really frustrating to me when people who had only ever been there on vacation would go on and on about how great the region is and refuse to accept that there were any downsides to living there as a foreigner. It’s like Brittany has obtained some kind of mythical status amongst both the French and expats alike. And sure it *can* be great for vacation, but living in a small village nearly broke me. The nearly year-round drizzle was so depressing, plus there was the bone-chilling cold you mentioned, the dislike of foreigners in general, lack of jobs, etc.

    Like you, I had been biased against Paris, but now I’m convinced it’s just a rumor non-Parisians spread in order to scare their children from moving away from home. 😉 Life in the capital has been nothing but good to me – people are friendly, I have access to movies in VO, international food and there are tons of cultural activities as you mentioned. Not to mention how much easier it is to travel from here. I say – just let the haters hate all they want!

    • Reply Grenobloise January 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Ksam, I’ve been enjoying your blog since I moved to France almost 7 years ago, so what a pleasure to hear from you! The fact that we’ve had such similar experiences is really something! “but living in a small village nearly broke me” — yess!! “Like you, I had been biased against Paris, but now I’m convinced it’s just a rumor non-Parisians spread in order to scare their children from moving away from home. ” — haha yes! I can’t believe how generous, fascinating, fun and chill Paris is — thank god I didn’t wait any longer to move here! What a completely positive 360 my life has taken for the better. We should meet up sometime!

  • Reply flonflon December 12, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Bonjour,
    Dommage que je découvre votre blog juste au moment où vous déménagez à Paris et que vous ne traduisez plus vos textes. J’espère que vous ne le fermerez pas parce que c’est agréable de vous lire en apprenant l’anglais en même temps.
    Je dessine et je peins de temps de temps pour mon simple plaisir et j’habite Grenoble depuis bien plus longtemps que vous, par nécessité.
    En habitant une tour dans un appartement en hauteur, j’ai la chance de profiter du beau paysage des montagnes sans me sentir écrasée par elles.
    Ces dernières années il a fait bien moins froid qu’autrefois. On sent bien le réchauffement climatique. Je supporte mieux les hivers que les périodes de canicule qui n’existaient pas auparavant.
    Pour ce qui me concerne, j’ai vécu dans plusieurs villes différentes en France et chacune a ses caractéristiques. De toutes façons, il me semble qu’en France (et peut-être partout dans le monde) il n’y a que les très grandes villes qui soient favorables aux artistes.
    Grenoble est faite pour les scientifiques surtout, mais aussi pour ceux qui aiment les sports de montagne.
    Je suis contente que votre déménagement vous satisfasse et il est certain que Paris vous sera beaucoup plus favorable. C’est quasiment un passage obligé. Les français parlent de «monter à Paris» quand on cherche à se faire connaître en tant qu’artiste, dans tous les domaines d’expression.
    A bientôt!

    • Reply Grenobloise January 22, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Merci beaucoup FlonFlon pour votre message. Du coup, je réfléchis beaucoup concernant quoi faire avec ce blog et comment le continuer ! Je veux le continuer dans les deux langues, et je veux non plus perdre mes lecteurs francophones. J’ai encore mon chez moi principale à Grenoble donc je suis à Grenoble assez fréquemment .. donc si j’ai eu le soutien nécessaire, je pourrais continuer faire des posts sur Grenoble et Paris dans une façon encore plus dynamique et intéressante qu’avant !

      C’est génial que vous faites également de la peinture !

      Oui, ça aide toujours à Grenoble d’avoir une vue ouverte sur les montagnes. En habitant vraiment en hyper-centre, j’ai quand-même une petite vue, mais c’est assez limitée.

      Voilà c’est ça.. peut-être en dehors que Nantes (je ne suis pas encore allée) où j’entends a une belle force artistique, c’est plutôt dans les grandes villes, surtout Paris,qui sont favorables aux artistes.

      A propos d’avenir de ce blog, j’ai besoin de soutien, car je travaille sur au moins dans deux posts en même temps. Il y a pas le temps pour ce blog. J’ai un travail du matin et un travail du soir .. et même pas le temps de voir des amis/la famille ETC. Mais, si j’ai eu de soutien, comme sur Patreon, je peux éliminer des heures de travail sur un de mes boulots pour pouvoir dédier du temps sur ce blog.

      Merci pour votre commentaire et à bientôt !

  • Reply tei December 25, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Sad to hear you have been unhappy here! I totally agree on the job market issue — I am not in arts so I don’t have similar experiences, but for a scientist in certain fields, it is quite difficult to find a paying job here. As to sunsets— I am more of a sunrise person, though — we see them both as we live high enough 🙂 I love the mountains, but I also miss the sea (I was born and lived the first half of my live by the seaside)

    In my experience in four years of living here (and I am not tired yet) it has always been other expats who have gotten defensive or even offensive if I’ve criticized any aspect of Grenoble (or French culture or style of living in general), not the French.

    • Reply Grenobloise January 22, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Tei, thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I was unhappy in Grenoble for a while. I hung onto certain art-related dreams that would free me from Grenoble (to stay sane)….which was wise in the end, as that very focused dedication got me out of Grenoble in the end. I still want to blog about Grenoble, as well as some fun and unique Paris-related stuff, but with my work schedule it is quite difficult.

      I want to make a bog post to ask you guys what you would want as rewards (live walking tours of Grenoble/Paris), art, gifts from Paris, postcards, creative YouTube videos around France, certain types of blog posts, etc.). If I get enough financial backing, I can cut off hours from my ay job to put towards ‘Grenobloise’. If you have nay ideas feel free to email me. 🙂 Hope you are well!

      Also, I’m not surprised that expats are super critical as well. I noticed that myself! I would imagine that expats are even more depressed in Gre, yet stuck (as I was), thus the extra bitterness really emphasizes their responses. Humans are really predictable!

      I imagine that you miss the sea! Your country has so many amazing landscapes — my bf is there often these days for work! Just breathtaking!
      I am the same way with the ocean. 🙂

  • Reply Pernilla December 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Great post, really interesting read! In 2014 I moved to Grenoble from Sweden (having only been once in Grenoble, apartment-hunting for a couple of hours) because I got a job there. It all happened so fast as there were few french speaking Swedes in the area (surprise!) which were the qualifications for the job. So I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. One of the things I found truly difficult about living there was the lack of water, I’m from Stockholm and there is literally water everywhere. I hadn’t really thought about this before, I lived in Annecy for a couple of months prior to Grenoble and the lake was an okey substitute. But Annecy kind’a also has the thing you describe about the enclosing mountains. They are breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes to close and big. Ugh.

    I really agree with the lack of cultural stimulation and entertainment. Coming from a capital and a country with a huge music scene I often wondered what people *do* in Grenoble for fun. Sports didn’t really interest me, they do now ironically, I wish I got into climbing when I was living there, would have made a huge difference.

    All in all, I only stayed in Grenoble for a year and I mostly loved it. I haven’t read your blog since living there, I think I found it when I decided to move there and you made it seem like quite a nice place so merci !

  • Reply q January 3, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you so much for putting a great effort to write informative posts such as this one.

    I have recently moved to Grenoble, from the Netherlands. I have previously lived in US (California, NC), and have always been blessed with caring and loving people around.

    Reading your blog is very informative but at the same very scary, especially coming from a country and religion not liked by many (read immigration crisis). I am a researcher in network communication, so at least that is going for me.

    Just hoping that I wont regret this decision and will continue to meet less racist people.

    Thanks again for your informative posts.

  • Reply Lucie January 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Bonjour,
    J’ai vécu quelques mois à Grenoble et je retrouve beaucoup de choses qui m’ont interpellées/manquées. C’est rassurant de voir que d’autres le pensent aussi ! (Bien que j’aurais préféré pour vous que ce ne soit pas le cas !) Les activités sportives/à la montagne sont particulièrement développées et il faut pouvoir bouger en voiture… ce n’était pas mon cas. Aussi, il y a peu de concerts dans les bars (ou alors je n’ai pas su aller aux bons endroits) et la vie à l’extérieur m’a vraiment manqué, comparé à Toulouse dont je suis originaire et vis actuellement. Je ne pourrais que vous conseiller cette dernière ville =)
    En effet, comme dit dans les commentaires, chaque ville à ses points positifs et négatifs, mais personne ne m’avait parlé de ça à moi non plus ! Peut-être que ces choses n’étaient pas importantes pour les personnes avec qui je parlais de Grenoble ! =)

  • Reply Marta April 18, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I think I came to france (and grenoble) about the same time you did and I have followed your blog in the corner of my attention all that time (because I blog as well on pakovska.com ). I will try not to be too negative with my response, because I’m a great believer of freedom of speech. I just feel this post needs some responses (besides your DM’s) ;).

    I’m trying to remember the beginning of your blog and I think your post is written from certain expectations (which perhaps many romantic Americans have of France) and those expectations have often little to do with reality. France is big (ok, you are from the USA and I’m from the other side of the ‘size’ spectrum: Macedonia and the Netherlands, so I understand the confusion) and every piece of France is different and definitely doesn’t fit into that idealistic picture perfect frame people paint of France. I somehow think that if you had a more realistic (or no) idea about where you were going, the disappointment wouldn’t be that big (I will come back on this later). But then there are always people that prefer to live in outdoor museums. 😉 I do believe big cities more easily absorb you (on short term) as a foreigner, but I have found that the same thing goes (on a more sustainable manner) for little communities, that can be found all around Grenoble in little villages and in all kinds of associations.

    I’m not an artist, so I won’t defer you on your observations there. I do agree that culture is not something that is fed to you with the spoonfuls. What I always say (to complaining migrants, because believe me, you are not the only one!): you have to find joy in the options that are offered to you in a certain place. You can’t expect to get Paris in Grenoble, duh. In the case of little pleasures: in the Netherlands I could find lots and lots of pleasure in having a proper cup of coffee in a very nice cafe wherever I was. On a beach, in a city, at a festival, everywhere. Here I can’t find good coffee, so I have learned to find alternative ways to find happiness in other small things. The small things can be found here in the mountains and therefore I have become a real nature person (and import my own coffee from the Netherlands). 😉
    It’s all about surviving, breaking down your own walls and making the most of it.

    I have been a migrant most of my life (29 out of 37 years) and I sometimes think that moving to a new place requires a high level of endurance of that what you don’t know as normal. You have to train your mind and correct yourself. And although it’s inevitable to compare and even reject or condemn, you have to actively try to create a mindset to embrace the way people live and that what is the ‘normal’ here. That doesn’t mean that you have to accept the unacceptable obviously. But if the normal isn’t doing it for you, you just move on. Which you partly did I see. That’s better for your mental state and for the people that are left behind. I follow some expat Grenoble groups (passively) on FB and I’m appalled by the narrow mindedness of the expat attitude some people have. There is little curiosity and a lot of condemnation.

    I personally came here with no expectations, I didn’t like France, didn’t like the language, not my thing at all. I’m more a Rome person, Paris wasn’t my thing. I used to work for an American company (in NY) and I just could. not. understand. the obsession with France?! But well, life just always seems to find paths to let you experience new things. Because of my 0-expectations, I think I really enjoy the region (I don’t live in Grenoble, but who does!?). Horizon lines, yes, well I don’t miss those, I do appreciate them when I’m back in flat NL. I did immediately say to my bf that I didn’t want to live in Grenoble, when we were searching for houses on our first visit, because I felt trapped in the city. Besides that I am born in a city surrounded by mountains (Skopje) and I know how air can get stuck in those kind of places and how awful 44 degree summers can be. Luckily there are hundreds of villages around Grenoble, where all the locals live 😉 on a slope, so that you don’t feel trapped. You see, you have to follow their normal and might not get horizons, but definitely amazing sunsets! And then you have those amazing horizons for which you have to work – walk up for. Which wasn’t easy for me, but after 5 years of being here, I am learning how gratifying those horizons can be. Not something you get gratuit, no something you put effort into and then get to enjoy. As I mentioned before with the coffee, I have found ways to compensate for the lack of certain things that are not available here in Grenoble. Things that are more available in bigger cities or even in smaller cities in other countries. Things that I miss from my homecountries. I do that by ordering stuff online or just accepting that I won’t be able to find good dutch cheese here or good feta, but exceptionally good fruit and veggies and other kinds of cheeses. We eat much healthier here, just because the dinner options aren’t amazing here and ordering out is also not really gratifying. So we cook a lot, from scratch, with great ingredients. Life is a balance and if you can’t find enough things to weigh out the negative, you search elsewhere, or for different things.

    And just a last remark here about the people: many people find french people in general very elitist (and you apparently find that of the people here). I find that French people are actually very self aware and are very hard on themselves. Because of that they sometimes appear to be timide and not so loud as other more self confident people might appear. It doesn’t say that they are not open for you, you just need to find each other on a different wave length.

    I don’t want to come out too negative here, which you might find, but these are also just my observations. As valid or harsh as yours. I also believe that we have this natural attitude of speaking badly about the place we leave (or want to leave) as a matter of survival. Same reason why I (and all those nasty DM people) have to come up for the place they (want to) live. It’s good for our brain and memory to highlight the good, where for you the bad might be highlighted to allow you to move on.

    I wish you well!

    • Reply Grenobloise June 5, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Marta, thanks for your comment. Just a quick note — your personal analyzations of my personality and expectations are completely off. I see you’re reasoning your decision to stay via a super long comment, which is interesting to say the least! No need to rebut every point in my blog, as this blog is about my experience, my views and experience still ring true for me and I am so, SO happy I left Grenoble! This blog was dedicated to Grenoble and France, and my love and appreciation (which still holds strong), and I never share anything too personal. I knew a lot about Grenoble before moving here (having visited twice and in a long relationship with someone from there). It is just not my cup of tea. It was a nice experience for a few years, then I moved on. Not just culturally not good for me, there were also no interesting job opportunities (as mentioned in the post). When I referred to stuck-up people, I was talking about my industry (you can re-read my post above, it doesn’t seem like you read it all). Your comment is from your perspective — I don’t agree with your points at all. Grenoble works for you so that is good for you, as you are living there. Everyone is different. It’s not always so simple as to change perspectives of your city, I lived in Grenoble for almost 6 years — if a city sucked for me in the long run, it sucked for me…life is too short to stay in a crappy city with no opportunities, etc (the list goes on; read above). Again, I explain this in this post above if you want to read it. I still live in Grenoble partially, and enjoy it as a pied-à-terre for some weekends to relax. 😉 I am very glad I lived there and also very glad that I live where I live now. Take care.

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