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Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne, on the northern shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, is the capital of the Vaud canton and an ancient cultural center to rival Geneva, located some fifty miles away. Built on the Jorat hills, the city offers a prospect of the entire Lake, as well as of the Alps to the south beyond it.

It was conquered by the Protestant Reformers the Bernese in the sixteenth century. In 1798, however, Lausanne fell to Napoleon, who made the city the capital of the Vaud canton of the new Helvetic Republic in 1803. Its pre-Napoleonic political structure is described in the 4th edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1797). For a time in the eighteenth century, Lausanne was home to Voltaire, Rousseau, and Edward Gibbon (who wrote most of his Decline and Fall there).

Percy Bysshe Shelley recounts the associations of Lausanne with Gibbon in the third letter of A History of a Six Weeks' Tour.