Lausanne is a dynamic commercial town with the feel of a holiday resort. The capital of the canton of Vaud is also a lively university and convention town. Its setting is extremely picturesque: it is hardly surprising that the International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914. The town is 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 offers alleyways with cafes and boutiques. Shopping streets can be found in the pretty waterfront area of Ouchy. The parks contain many Mediterranean plant species, as well as grand palace hotels like the Beau-Rivage Palace in Ouchy and the Hotel d’Angleterre. Gourmets are able to savour many regional specialities such as cabbage-filled sausage with leek gratin called "Papet Vaudois". On the culture side, there’s the collection of marginal art (“Art Brut”) in Beaulieu Castle, the Fondation de l'Hermitage, and the «Musée de l'Elysée» photo museum. Lausanne is also home to the world-famous Béjart Ballet.