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Definition: Geneva, Lake from Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary

Lake in SW Switzerland and E France, extending in an arc along the boundary, only its S shore in France; 45 mi. (72 km.) long, 1.5 to 9 mi. (2.4 to 14 km.) wide; 224 sq. mi. (580 sq. km.); traversed E to W by Rhone River.


Summary Article: Geneva, Lake from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Largest of the central European lakes, between the Alps and the Jura mountains on the Swiss-French border; area 580 sq km/225 sq mi. The main part of the lake (about 347 sq km/134 sq mi) lies in western Switzerland; the remainder is French. It is in the shape of a crescent 72 km/45 mi long and 13 km/8 mi wide; it has a maximum depth of 391 m/1,283 ft.

At the upper end of the lake the River Rhône enters through a delta and leaves it at Geneva. At certain periods of the year the lake surface is subject to sudden rises and falls, probably due to differences in barometric pressure; these phenomena are known as seiches.

The southern French shore has the Chablais Mountains in the background, while the sunny shore on the north side of the Pays de Vaud is noted for its vineyards. Mont Blanc, though nearly 100 km/60 mi away, is visible from the lake on a clear day. In the harbour of the city of Geneva are two great granite rocks, named Pierres du Niton (Neptune's Altars), which project above the water.

Lake dwellings were built on the shores in prehistoric times, and piles from them can still be seen near Geneva. The lake is mentioned by Rousseau in his Nouvelle Héloïse, and by Byron in ‘Childe Harold’ and ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’. A region of great scenic beauty, the many resorts on the lake's shores attract both tourists and winter residents and include Vevey, Montreux, Les Avants, and Lausanne. On the French side are the popular spa towns of Thonon-les-Bains and Évian-les-Bains.

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