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Isera (Arpitan)
Isèra (Occitan)
Flag of Isère
Coat of arms of Isère
Location of Isère in France
Location of Isère in France
Coordinates: 45°20′N 05°30′E / 45.333°N 5.500°E / 45.333; 5.500
SubprefecturesLa Tour-du-Pin
 • President of the Departmental CouncilJean-Pierre Barbier[1] (LR)
 • Total7,431 km2 (2,869 sq mi)
846 m (2,776 ft)
Highest elevation
4,088 m (13,412 ft)
Lowest elevation
134 m (440 ft)
 (Jan. 2020)[2]
 • Total1,277,513
 • Rank15th
 • Density170/km2 (450/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number38
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Isère (US: /ˈzɛər/ ee-ZAIR,[3][4] French: [izɛʁ] (listen); Arpitan: Isera; Occitan: Isèra, Occitan pronunciation: [iˈsɛɾa]) is a landlocked department in the southeastern French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Named after the river Isère, it had a population of 1,271,166 in 2019.[5] Its prefecture is Grenoble. It borders Rhône to the northwest, Ain to the north, Savoie to the east, Hautes-Alpes to the south, Drôme and Ardèche to the southwest and Loire to the west.

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Isère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was established from the main part of the former province of Dauphiné.[6] Its area was reduced twice, in 1852 and again in 1967, on both occasions losing territory to the department of Rhône.

The Château de Vizille, which was the seat of the Assembly of Vizille that followed the 1788 Day of the Tiles in Grenoble, now houses the Musée de la Révolution française.
The Château de Vizille, which was the seat of the Assembly of Vizille that followed the 1788 Day of the Tiles in Grenoble, now houses the Musée de la Révolution française.

In 1852 in response to rapid urban development around the edge of Lyon, the (hitherto Isère) communes of Bron, Vaulx-en-Velin, Vénissieux and Villeurbanne were transferred to Rhône.[7] In 1967 the redrawing of local government borders led to the creation of the Urban Community of Lyon (more recently known simply as Greater Lyon or Grand Lyon). At that time intercommunal groupings of this nature were not permitted to straddle departmental frontiers, and accordingly 23 more Isère communes (along with six communes from Ain) found themselves transferred to Rhône. The affected Isère communes were Chaponnay, Chassieu, Communay, Corbas, Décines-Charpieu, Feyzin, Genas, Jonage, Jons, Marennes, Meyzieu, Mions, Pusignan, Saint-Bonnet-de-Mure, Saint-Laurent-de-Mure, Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, Saint-Priest, Saint-Symphorien-d'Ozon, Sérézin-du-Rhône, Simandres, Solaize, Ternay and Toussieu.

Most recently, on 1 April 1971, Colombier-Saugnieu was transferred to Rhône. Banners appeared in the commune's three little villages at the time proclaiming Dauphinois toujours ("Always Dauphinois").

Isère was also the name of the French ship which delivered the 214 boxes containing the components of the Statue of Liberty.


Isère includes a part of the French Alps. The highest point in the department is the subpeak Pic Lory at 4,088 metres (13,412 feet), subsidiary to the 4,102 metres (13,458 feet) Barre des Écrins in the adjoining Hautes-Alpes department. The summit of La Meije at 3,988 metres (13,084 feet) is also well known. The Vercors Plateau aesthetically dominates the western part of the department.

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Grenoble, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 7 communes with more than 20,000 inhabitants:[5]

Commune Population (2019)
Grenoble 158,198
Saint-Martin-d'Hères 37,935
Échirolles 36,932
Vienne 29,993
Bourgoin-Jallieu 28,834
Fontaine 23,211
Voiron 20,372


Inhabitants of the department are called Isérois (masculine) and Iséroises (feminine).

Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.


Departmental politics

The President of the Departmental Council has been Jean-Pierre Barbier of The Republicans (LR) since 2015.

Following the 2021 departmental election, the Departmental Council of Isère (58 seats) was composed as follows:

Group Seats
The Republicans and allies 26
Socialist Party and allies 13
Union of Democrats and Independents and allies 5
French Communist Party and allies 5
Europe Ecology – The Greens and allies 4
Independents 3
La République En Marche! 2

Representation in Paris

National Assembly

In the 2017 legislative election, Isère elected the following representatives to the National Assembly:

Constituency Member[10] Party
Isère's 1st constituency Olivier Véran La République En Marche!
Isère's 2nd constituency Jean-Charles Colas-Roy La République En Marche!
Isère's 3rd constituency Émilie Chalas La République En Marche!
Isère's 4th constituency Marie-Noëlle Battistel Socialist Party
Isère's 5th constituency Catherine Kamowski La République En Marche!
Isère's 6th constituency Cendra Motin La République En Marche!
Isère's 7th constituency Monique Limon La République En Marche!
Isère's 8th constituency Caroline Abadie La République En Marche!
Isère's 9th constituency Élodie Jacquier-Laforge Democratic Movement
Isère's 10th constituency Marjolaine Meynier-Millefert La République En Marche!


In the 2017 Senate election, Isère elected Didier Rambaud (La République En Marche!), Guillaume Gontard (miscellaneous left), Frédérique Puissat (The Republicans), Michel Savin (The Republicans) and André Vallini (Socialist Party) for the 2017–2023 term.


The Grande Chartreuse is the mother abbey of the Carthusian order. It is located 22 km (14 mi) north of Grenoble.

As early as the 13th century, residents of the north and central parts of Isère spoke a dialect of the Franco-Provençal language called Dauphinois, while those in the Southern parts spoke the Vivaro-Alpine dialect of Occitan. Both continued to be spoken in rural areas of Isère into the 20th century.


Isère features many ski resorts, including the Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux Alpes, the 1968 Winter Olympics resorts of Chamrousse, Villard de Lans, Autrans. Other popular resorts include Les 7 Laux, Méaudre, Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, Alpe du Grand Serre and Gresse-en-Vercors. At the department level, Isère is the third-largest ski and winter destination in France, after Savoie and Haute-Savoie. It also hosts Coupe Icare, an annual festival of free flight, such as paragliding and hang-gliding, held at the world-renowned paragliding site at Lumbin.

Grenoble has a dozen museums, including its most famous, established in 1798, the Museum of Grenoble. The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), an international research facility in Grenoble, is also open to visitors.

See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2020". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Isère". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Isère". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b Populations légales 2019: 38 Isère, INSEE
  6. ^ Frederick Converse Beach; George Edwin Rines (1912). The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts and sciences, literature, history, biography, geography, commerce, etc., of the world. Scientific American compiling department. p. 741.
  7. ^ Revue du Lyonnais (in French). L. Boitel. 1865. p. 197.
  8. ^ "Historique de l'Isère". Le SPLAF.
  9. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  10. ^ Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 May 2023, at 12:10
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