The République et Canton de Genève (Republic and Canton of Geneva) commands sweeping views of the French Alps and the French Jura from its fortuitous position at the southwestern tip of Lac Léman. The water flows straight through the city center and into the River Rhône en route to Lyon and the Mediterranean, leaving museums, shops, restaurants, and parks to jostle for space on its history-laden south shore, known as Rive Gauche. Busy shopping streets underline the hilltop Vieille Ville, the Plaine de Plainpalais lies to its west, and Eaux-Vives stretches along the quays to the east.
The quartier international (International Area), the Gare Cornavin, and sumptuous waterfront hotels dominate the north shore, or Rive Droite. St-Gervais, just north of the Ponts de l'Ile, was once a watchmaking quarter. Les Pâquis, a mix of artists, ethnic communities, and scrappy pleasure seekers, extends north from the Pont du Mont-Blanc. The International Area, on the outer edge of the city, is a short tram ride from Gare Cornavin; all other neighborhoods are easily toured on foot.