"La Vallée de l'Or Gris" Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux by JLBG

Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 29 photos

Saint Martin le Vinoux is the western entrance into Grenoble. Where the autoroute from Lyon arrives, stands a huge monument that was build in 1967 for the Winter Olympics, during a sculpture symposium by Morice Lipsi, called "Ouverture dans l'Espace" (space opening) but more often called Olympic column. This 85 tons, 12.50 meters high signal, made of blue granit from Brittany, is a welcome sign to visitors. The central pillar is topped by handles directed towards four directions. It hugs both the mountain and the visitor

Another sculpture by Lipsi, La grande vague (1978) is on show in the park Albert Michallon, behind the Museum of Grenoble.

Before the Olympic column was built and a little further upstream along the Isère river, the entrance in Grenoble has long been the Porte de France. On the limit between Grenoble and Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux, it is one of the few remains of the city walls built by Lesdiguières. A 1620 carving in Latin reminds that this entrance was first called Porte Royale : it was dedicated to Louis XIII and François de Bonne, duke of Lesdiguières, peer and marschal of France. It was restaured in 1847-48. In 1932, it was turned into a "Monument aux Morts" to honor the dead of 1914-1918 World War.

La Vallée de l'Or gris

I will explain under "things to do" why and how Saint Martin le Vinoux and the whole Grenoble area are linked to the history of concrete.

The Casamaures is the master piece of that industry and in this case, it is worth the name of art and is a must visit for those who are interested in architecture.

  • Intro Updated Oct 13, 2005
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Reviews (26)

Comments (16)

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    I tend to prefer stone houses, perhaps because our ugliest buildings are built of concrete. These urinals could be universal, but I somehow don't believe they would meet women's standards of cleanliness if men used them too.:)

  • Jan 27, 2009 at 5:15 AM

    Great tips

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    You've been to so many beautiful places. The La Casamaures looks so wonderful and I appreciate Architecture. It's amazing how many people do not see all the details a buildings has. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2008 at 8:14 AM

    Interesting page. I think we need some of that magical concrete on some of our highways and bridges of today. You seem to have become a concrete authority! ha ha. I'm sure the scent of the flowers along the sidewalk far exceeds the previous uses. wink!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2008 at 1:27 PM

    Haha, I'd say I would use it :-)) Why not :-)) Not weird at all - at least it has a cover on the front, that's more than I had in the Pamirs (1 hole, 2 walls, nothing more) :-))) haha, thanks for your quote :-))

  • mariev's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2008 at 6:02 AM

    J'étais déja passée par Saint Martin le Vinoux mais j'ignorais totalement son rôe dans l'industrie du béton. Si je repasse, je ferai un détour pour voir La Casamaures

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2006 at 2:24 PM

    Maisons remarquables indeed! I never knew Grenoble was such a center of the concrete industry. Interesting stories about Auguste Perret. Why couldn't he have worked as a contractor if he had graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts?

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2006 at 9:13 AM

    Had to laugh at the turning wind = a good idea to turn things into flower pots = now I know where concrete comes from - thaks for sharing

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2006 at 3:23 AM

    As usual a very informative page on Saint-Martin. Like the others, I am impressed with your knowledge of the concrete industry and the many mold concrete buildings. The Casamaures looks wonderful.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2005 at 4:39 PM

    Haha, a lot of very interesting info, on concrete invention for example. Thanks for La Casamaures - next a must see for me :-)

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