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. The old town is dominated by the cathedral, which is regarded as Switzerland’s most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture. Lausanne was a diocesan town for over a thousand years. Shopping streets can be found surrounding the cathedral as well as in the pretty waterfront area of Ouchy. Switzerland’s only «metro» connects the various parts of the town and eases travel in this incline-based town.