Lausanne, the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, combines a dynamic commercial town with the locality of a holiday resort. The capital of the canton of Vaud is also a lively university and convention town. Sports and culture are given a high profile in the Olympic capital.
The setting of Lausanne is extremely picturesque: it is hardly surprising that the International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914. The town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps. The attractive old town is largely car-free. Small alleyways with cafes and boutiques shape the streetscape in the medieval city centre.