Lausanne is a truly elegant city, not far from Geneva, on Lake Geneva. Its hillside setting on the lake facing the Alps is truly spectacular. Its old quarter, La Cité, has an impressive medieval cathedral. Lausanne is a university city with a vibrant student population. The Swiss Hotel School is located here, as well as the International Olympic Committee headquarters, which has a fascinating Museum on the Olympics with all kinds of exhibits and a library of Olympic videos. Musée de l'Art Brut has an unusual but fascinating exhibit of art by untrained artists including imprisoned criminals, mental patients, and eccentrics.
Lausanne is a very green city with many parks and gardens. Its southern exposure on the Lake gives it a wonderful climate for all kinds of vegetation. Ouchy is the city's marina, which is beautiful and has excellent restaurants and fantastic yachts. The best beach is Vidy, where bikes and skates can be rented to explore the walkways along the Lake. In the summer, Lausanne holds many outdoor festivals, street performances, and street parties, and the pedestrian-only shopping areas are excellent.
Lausanne is a great starting point for a family vacation in Switzerland. From here, high speed trains depart almost hourly to Paris and Milan, and it is a major junction for numerous train lines through Switzerland. Because of this, Lausanne makes a great base for trips into the Bernese Oberland or the Valais by train. Large luggage can be stored in the lockers at the train station while you take short trips with smaller bags, and on your way back through you can simply exchange for clean clothing.
There are many wonderful excursions and tours of the Lake Geneva area, by boat, train and cable car. Ride up to the surrounding peaks of the Alps where revolving restaurants have spectacular vistas. Or take a train to the charming medieval stone town of Gruyère, famous for its cheese, or a lake steamer to the resort of Montreux, nicknamed the "Swiss Riviera" because of its warm climate with palm trees and other tropical vegetation along the lake and in the parks.