The discovery by the ATLAS and CMS experiments of a new boson with mass around 125 GeV and with measured properties compatible with those of a Standard-Model Higgs boson, coupled with the absence of discoveries of phenomena beyond the Standard Model at the TeV scale, has triggered interest in ideas for future Higgs factories. A new circular e(+)e(-) collider hosted in a 80 to 100 km tunnel, TLEP, is among the most attractive solutions proposed so far. It has a clean experimental environment, produces high luminosity for top-quark, Higgs boson, W and Z studies, accommodates multiple detectors, and can reach energies up to the threshold and beyond. It will enable measurements of the Higgs boson properties and of Electroweak Symmetry-Breaking (EWSB) parameters with unequalled precision, offering exploration of physics beyond the Standard Model in the multi-TeV range. Moreover, being the natural precursor of the VHE-LHC, a 100 TeV hadron machine in the same tunnel, it builds up a long-term vision for particle physics. Altogether, the combination of TLEP and the VHE-LHC offers, for a great cost effectiveness, the best precision and the best search reach of all options presently on the market. This paper presents a first appraisal of the salient features of the TLEP physics potential, to serve as a baseline for a more extensive design study.