Lausanne starts from the shores of Lake Geneva and rises up along steep hillsides. Besides giving one a good cardiovascular workout, it also affords fantastic views of France and the French Alps on the other side of the lake. Lausanne, with a population of 125,000, joins Maastricht, Netherlands, Lund, Sweden and Ulm, Germany on my list of favorite small cities in Europe (population between 75,000-150,000). Lausanne, located 35 miles from Geneva in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, seems to have all the benefits of a big city in a small town atmosphere. For example, need access to a major airport? Every 30 minutes a train leaves for Geneva Airport and within 35 minutes you'll be dropped off directly under the arrival/departure terminal.

Need culture? Lausanne has it in part to being home to two major universities. Need sports? This place always seems to be hosting sporting events which, I'm sure has to do with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) being headquartered here. By the way, I visited the head offices of the IOC during my last trek through Switzerland (check the archives) and still remember how odd it was that they allow smoking in the cafeteria. Is that called leading by example?

Several big American companies (Alcoa, Philip Morris) have their European head offices here.