Switzerland’s second city is tidy, charming and low-key. At the same time, it is the consummate global center, a cosmopolitan, French-speaking enclave of wealth and power, home to international organizations such as the Red Cross and the United Nations, as well as a gateway to a splendid Alpine playground. On the city’s lakefront, the Jet d’Eau, a famous 450-foot fountain, is the focal point. Snowcapped Mont Blanc can be glimpsed in the distance. The quays and jetties, plus magnificent public gardens such as the Jardin Anglais, make for picturesque strolling. The Place Neuve is a cultural hub, home to the Grand Théâtre opera, the Conservatory of Music and the renowned Musée Rath.

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