Au Revoir, Grenoble (Sniff!) Vous Nous Manquez.*

One cannot organize an adventure any more than one can rehearse spontaneity.  ~Trevanian (Rodney William Whitaker)

Breathtaking Belledonne Mountains

Transitions are rarely easy no matter how welcome they are; my blog posts have offered plenty of evidence of that. They have dealt with the adventures we experienced both in our day-to-day life and our foreign travels. Moving to a different culture definitely stretches one; but we can also say returning to the culture that you left is not always a piece of cake

When we first arrived in Grenoble, new acquaintances would ask what we missed about home. The stock answer we gave was “family and friends.” (All true!) We didn’t mention the stores where we could find almost anything we wanted, sometimes were open 24 hours a day, and would not close for one-and-a-half-hour lunch breaks. We neither told them about the abundance of mozzarella cheese in our land of plenty nor expounded on the plethora of different varieties of beans, especially in the southern states. Are you noticing a concern-with-food pattern here?

It wasn’t until we had been home for about a week that we realized how much now we miss Grenoble and our friends there. When we had first arrived in France, we were always saying, “in America….”  Now find ourselves saying, “in France….” We ask forgiveness of our American friends if we make these comparisons to you, and we hope you can understand the loss we feel. For those of you who have been asking us what else we will miss about France, we’ve come up with a short list.

What and whom we will miss . . .

Friends and Colleagues  at Open House Grenoble,  Sweet Home Grenoble and GEM (Grenoble Ecole de Management) and those we came to know through connections outside those groups. They welcomed us into their circles and embraced us.

Steve’s GEM Party

Fellow GEM Students and Mo

Denis, our boulanger extraordinaire,who greeted each patron warmly and treated each as though they were his most cherished customer. His baguette became our favorite not only because it’s the best we’ve ever eaten but especially because it was served with his sincere smile.

Denis et nous à la boulangerie

Marché de l’Estacade, the vibrant market, which provided fresh fruit, fish, flowers, vegetables, olives, cheese, and  meat six days a week, under the railroad trestle within a four-minute walk of our apartment.

Des fleurs au Marché l’Estacade

Politesse. It may seem corny, but we came to anticipate that as soon as we entered a shop, le vendeur (shopkeeper) would greet us with Bonjour, Monsieur-dame! (Sir and Madame concatenation) As endearing as “How y’all doing?” is, it doesn’t quite have the same ring.

Another mountain picture!

Les montagnes, namely the Alps, the Belledonne, the Vercors, and the Chartreuse Mountain ranges. The breathtaking views of these three ranges as we stood on our balconies are indescribable.

Beautiful, historic buildings that were built before America was even discovered and made us wonder how they made them so exquisitely without even a calculator let alone a CAD (computer-aided design) tool.

Le Musée Dauphinois courtyard

Transportation systems that allowed us to go practically anywhere we desired in relative ease and comfort and saved us from driving. And being able to use our own two feet to get to most places that we had wanted to go: GEM, centre ville, and outlying parks. (Our legs have never been in better shape.)

Les chiens who dutifully follow their masters off their leashes or submit to being carried in bicycle baskets and grocery carts, all the while ignoring the rest of the world. (See also Dogs Unleashed!)

They go everywhere. Even the ATM!

And grocery carts!

Leisurely sipping a coffee at le café du jour (coffee shop of the day) while trying to understand the fine points of French idiomatic expressions.

Sweet Home Grenoble Café Group

 Easy European travel afforded by living in Grenoble. We could hop on the Rhône-Alpes navette to Lyon aéroport and travel by easyJet, Lufthansa, Brussels Air, and other airlines to our hearts’ content. For a lark, Steve toted up the number of flights we made during our stay. He came up with 26 flights touching down in Europe, Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Graffiti paintings on the shop doors that made walking down the street feel like strolling in an art space.

Wine, excellent and inexpensive, which goes so well with that baguette and St. Marcellin cheese of which we have become so fond.

Cheese, the bountiful selection that threatened to overwhelm us by the multitude of choices and incredible tastes.

Artistic graffiti to which the photo cannot do justice!

French wine that we so enjoyed with friends at home or restos!

And some of our friends who helped over the rough patches….

Sheree, Bob & Einzel in Annency

Sheree, Bob, & Einzel in Annecy



Jean-Claude & Colette

Claude & Françoise

Last, but certainly not least, I will miss writing this blog. Thank you for joining us on this fantastic journey in our lives. We hope at times that we’ve made you smile, opened your eyes about things you didn’t know, or inspired you to do something you thought you might never do—embrace an adventure as we did!

As Mark Twain so wisely said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

(Thanks to our friend, Michelle Onofrey (Brock), a true entrepreneur, from Open House Grenoble for introducing us to the above quote.)

Thanks to la ville de Grenoble  for this very welcome video of some sights you might recognize from our previous posts of the town which we called “home” for too short a time:

*Good-bye, Grenoble. We miss you.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 09:40:36

    I’ll second all of those points – we miss the same wonderful things about Grenoble!


  2. grenobloise
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 04:44:06

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog; thank-you so much! I read it before moving to Grenoble’s city center and now I’ve been here since July 1st. I hope you transition well back into the US.


  3. Crystal
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 16:14:31

    I found your blog through my friend’s blog (Grenobloise) and look forward to reading your entries! I just moved to a town outside of Grenoble about a month ago, and am looking forward to getting to know the city and also explore the beautiful mountains as much as I can.

    Good luck with the transition back to life in the States and take care 🙂


    • steveandmo
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 17:04:17

      Hi Crystal,
      I’ve found your blog and look forward to reading about your experiences in Grenoble, France, etc.
      Some days I am “homesick” for Grenoble, but being around family and friends is nice, too. I know you will enjoy the ‘small town’ atmosphere and the fun happenings when you are not checking out the mountains!


  6. Trackback: From Queen’s University to Grenoble to PWC, Toronto : A Canadian view of studying in France | GlobalEd
  7. Trackback: From Queen’s University through Grenoble to PWC, Toronto : A Canadian view of studying in France | GlobalEd

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