Far more than just a gateway to Switzerland's luxury ski resorts, Geneva is also undoubtedly Switzerland's most cosmopolitan city, with its reputation for religious and political tolerance dating back more than five hundred years. The city sits astride the River Rh?ne, where it streams into Lake Geneva, and is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. At the lake's south shore the Jet d'Eau shoots water 460ft (140m) into the sky from the end of a pier - the city's landmark attraction and Europe's most powerful fountain.
Stately homes line the banks of the lake, overlooking an armada of luxury yachts. Jewels and designer labels spill out of exclusive boutiques and into chauffeur-driven limousines that glide down palatial avenues. As well as a host of museums and fine galleries, Geneva has a lively cultural calendar. Most notable is the celebration of l'Escalade in December, which involves costumed and torch-lit processions through the town, and the consumption of vast amounts of chocolate and marzipan.
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