Geneva (, , , , , ) is the second most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and is the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. The municipality (ville de Genève) has a population () of , and the canton (which is essentially the city and its inner-ring suburbs) has residents. In 2011, the compact agglomération franco-valdo-genevoise (Greater Geneva or Grand Genève) had 915,000 inhabitants in both – Switzerland and France ( The altitude of Geneva is , and corresponds to the altitude of the largest of the Pierres du Niton, two large rocks emerging from the lake which date from the last ice age. This rock was chosen by General Guillaume Henri Dufour as the reference point for surveying in Switzerland. The second main river of Geneva is the Arve River which flows into the Rhône River just west of the city centre. Mont Blanc can be seen from Geneva and is an hour’s drive from the city centre. Climate The climate of Geneva is temperate, oceanic (Köppen: Cfb). Winters are cool, usually with light frosts at night and thawing conditions during the day. Summers are pleasantly warm. Precipitation is adequate and is relatively well-distributed throughout the year, although autumn is slightly wetter than the other seasons. Ice storms near Lac Léman are quite normal in the winter. In the summer many people enjoy swimming in the lake, and frequently patronise public beaches such as Genève Plage and the Bains des Pâquis. Geneva, in certain years, receives snow in the colder months of the year. The nearby mountains are subject to substantial snowfall and are usually suitable for skiing. Many world-renowned ski resorts such as Verbier and Crans-Montana are just over two hours away by car. Mont Salève (1400 m), just across the border in France, dominates the southerly view from the city centre. The famous Mont Blanc is visible from most of the city, enclosed in the mountain alp range surrounding nearby Chamonix, which is one of the closest French skiing destinations to Geneva. During the years 2000–2009, the mean yearly temperature was 11 °C and the mean yearly sunshine lasted 2003 hours.

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Nathan Tarrant
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Written by Nathan Tarrant