While Oxford has links with a number of cities around the world, the likes of Bonn, Leon and Perm, are not traditional tourist destinations. However, our French twin, Grenoble, tucked in at the base of the Alps, is the exception.

The city is a regular stopping-off point for those looking to ski during the winter, and, thanks to new cheap Ryanair flights from Stansted, it also offers the perfect destination for a weekend break throughout the year.

With summer underway, now is the perfect chance to sample the many delights the city, and wider region, have to offer.

With a wide range of activities both in the city itself and in the country it makes for the perfect weekend break.

Given how few flights there are each day, the Grenoble Isère Airport is nearly deserted at this time of year – which means getting in and out is a very simple process.

The city is about 30km away and while there are buses or taxis available, hiring a car is perhaps the easiest way and offers much more freedom.

Undoubtedly the best way to get an overview of the city is to visit the Bastille, a 19th century fortress built into the cliffs.

It can be reached via cable car which runs throughout the day and late at nights although the more adventurous may wish to run or cycle.

Up here you truly see how nestled in the mountains Grenoble really is, with a refreshing Alpine breeze blowing in your face.

As well as the breathtaking views, there is a chance to look around the fort and an adventure park for youngsters.

There are also several places to eat, including fine dining at Restaurant Chez Le Pèr’Gras – although this must be booked in advance.

Like its British twin, Grenoble is a city renowned for its university and scientific endeavours but with shops, markets and museums it offers something for the more culturally minded as well.

Perhaps the best way to see the city and its creative side is to take a look at the street art dotted around which has appeared in recent years due to the annual street art festival.

While it is unlikely all of it will be to everyone’s taste, there is little getting away from the fact much of it is very impressive. A map of where the best murals are located can be found at the tourist information centre.

For those wanting a more traditional art experience, there is the Musée de Grenoble, which offers a huge collection of classical and contemporary art with works on display ranging from van Dyck to Matisse.

The artisan shops are also well worth a visit, especially Fromagerie Les Alpages which offers some of the finest cheeses available. Locals have been known to queue outdoors for its produce.

If you have hired a car, then it is certainly worth exploring other parts of the region. Grenoble is within easy reach of many outdoor pursuits but for those wanting to explore another historic town, head to Vienne.

Just over an hour away on the banks of the Rhone, its ancient streets boast impressive Roman architecture including a temple and amphitheatre in the heart of the town.

There is also the option of a tram ride around the town, which provides spectacular views of Vienne, its architecture and that impressive amphitheatre. Quieter than Grenoble, the narrow streets have plenty of shops and top-class restaurants in which to while away the time.

Vienne is perhaps most famous for its annual Jazz Festival, which this year features Sting and Earth, Wind and Fire on the bill. It runs from June 28 to July 13 (jazzavienne.com/en)

The region is also renowned for its wine production and the banks of the Rhone are lined with vineyards – including those of the acclaimed Côte-Rôtie. Many offer visits for wine tasting and even have accommodation, such as Domaine de Corps de Loup. A short drive into the country will also take you to Les Saisons de Rosalie - Confiture Bruneton. Run by Philippe Bruneton, this artisan jam maker offers some of the finest flavours in France and is worth the short drive.

For anyone looking for a short get-away in the sunny south of France, Grenoble provides an exciting new option that will delight anyone interested in culture, food and the great French outdoors.


FLY: Ryanair from Stansted to Grenoble from £9.99 one way and run from until October 27. ryanair.com

STAY: Two-nights at four-star Mercure Grenoble Center Alpotel costs €89 with breakfast based on two sharing. Two-nights at three-star Ibis hotel Lyon Sud Vienne St Louis costs €100 with breakfast based on two sharing DRIVE: Car hire is available from Grenoble airport with Hertz hertz.com and starts from 37€/day.

FACTS: Vienne Condrieu: vienne-condrieu.com

Grenoble: grenoble-tourisme.com

Isere: isere-tourisme.com