The greatest advantage to living in Grenoble is the access to mountains, hiking trails, and beautiful views. Grenoble is at the center of three mountain ranges that tower of the centre-ville - so you can imagine that life can get a bit claustrophobic at times. The best way to escape the city is to get a different perspective... like from the top of one of the surrounding mountains.
One morning, we hopped in a car with a friend made via Couch Surfing (which was never actually used...) to drive to a small town in Vercors. Like all french mountain villages, the church steeple peeked out over the rooftops marking the epicenter of the town. There were a few houses, a few cars, and a hotel, but not a person in sight.
We followed a trail marker up into the woods and began an ascent up to the clearing hidden at the top of the trees. Conversation that weaved its way from french to english and back to french passed the time until we spotted a clearing in the trees and road that winded up to a large field. Up over the field, we set our bags down and looked out over the valley. To be on top of a mountain that overlooks the valleys down below in the Rhône Alps is like overseeing an entire kingdom. The little villages dispersed throughout the massive fields, little lives being lived in the quaint french countryside is an incredible sight.
We sat down for a picnic, enjoying the fresh mountain air and the sunshine that was quickly fading with the season, an impending winter lending a slight chill to the wind. We tried climbing to the top of the peak, but, like a rainbow, each step didn't seem to bring us any closer to the summit.
From the spot where we sat down and ate our sandwiches, croissants, baguettes and any other french picnic foods you can name, we spotted a bright blue hue hidden among the fields on the other side of the valley. Pierre told us that it was Lac du Monteynard, a beautiful lake at the base of the Belledonne mountain range. We decided we had to make a trip to explore it soon.
Gresse-en-Vercors is not an advanced hike and doesn't take very long, so it's a beautiful way to pass a Sunday on a nice fall day in the Alpes.