History of Grenoble

The first references to Grenoble date back to 43 BC. Cularo was at that time a little Gallic village founded by the Allobroges tribe near a bridge across the Isère River. A strong wall was built around the small town in 286 AD.

The Emperor Gratian visited Cularo and, touched by the people's welcome, made the village a Roman city. In honour of this, Cularo was renamed Gratianopolis ("city of Gratian") in 381 (leading to Graignovol during the Middle Age and then Grenoble).

Christianity spread to the region during the 4th century, and the diocese of Grenoble was founded in 377. From that time, the bishops exercised a significant political power over the city and, until the French Revolution, styled themselves the "bishops and princes of Grenoble".

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city was part of the first Burgundian kingdom in the 5th century and the second Burgundian Kingdom of Arles until 1032, when it was integrated into the Holy Roman Empire.

Middle Ages

Grenoble grew significantly in the 11th century when the Counts of Albon chose the city as the capital of their territories. At the time, their possessions were a patchwork of several territories sprawled across the region. The central position of Grenoble allowed the counts to strengthen their authority. When these counts later took the title of "Dauphins", Grenoble became the capital of the State of Dauphiné.

In spite of their status, the counts' authority was shared with the Bishop of Grenoble. One of the most famous Bishop was Saint Hugh. Under his rule, the city's bridge was rebuilt, and a hospital was constructed along with a leper hospital.

The inhabitants of Grenoble took advantage of the division between the counts and the bishops and obtained the recognition of a Charter of Customs that guaranteed their rights. That charter was confirmed by Kings Louis XI in 1447 and Francis I in 1541.

In 1336, the last Dauphin Humbert II