The ancient capital of the Dauphine, Grenoble is the commercial, intellectual, and tourist center of the Alps. Spherical cable cars called "Les Bulles” (Bubbles) connect the town to the summit of La Bastille hill, named for the 18th-century fortress on its slopes. Its university, founded in 1339, has a student body of some 40,000 and also the largest summer-session program in Europe attracting a large number of foreign students. The city is also home to four other universities with a large contingent of English and American students, giving the city a cosmopolitan air.
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