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Geneva Airport to France missing the Swiss section -anyone?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does anyone have the route through Geneva missing the Swiss motorway section. I thought I might try it this year and hire from the French side.

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Take it you mean the crossing at St Julien en Genevois? Depends where in France are you're going though, for the Portes du Soleil you just head into Geneva and follow signs towards Evian then come in via Thonons Les Bains. Depending on your flight time it might take an hour to do the 2 or 3 kms of Geneva city though.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If you mean using the French side of Geneva Airport, this used only to be open to passengers on internal French flights, not international ones. It may have changed, but you'd need to check.
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Peterkct, Not sure when that was, but certainly for the last ten years you just walk through the border (although the authorities seem to want to hide it well and make it impossible to take a trolley through).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Peterkct, Certainly for the last 10 years you just walk from one side to the other, but you do have to go through customs
beequin,
Quote:

(although the authorities seem to want to hide it well and make it impossible to take a trolley through).

To stop people smuggling trolleys?
It is the route back that is amusing in that you end up in the baggage reclaim area.
The car hire companies will give you a map showing the route into France avoiding the motorways if you ask, but also check that the car doesn't already have a vignette, many do.
I usually go via St. Julian since Annemasse often has pretty bad traffic. Check the time of day you arrive and leave. Geneva has horrendous traffic jams in the morning and early evening as the working population enter and leave France. Late in the evening (the 21:40 easyjet flights are convenient) there is little problem and the journey takes only a little longer than the motorway.
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Quote:

Certainly for the last 10 years you just walk from one side to the other, but you do have to go through customs

Good news Smile
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driving out i've never heard of anyone having problems, your driving into france and so there not checking for vignettes. its the way back in switerland that you need to worry about it Smile
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Never done it, though I gather it's a but of a mission from French car hire. Helpful to have a map reader in the car I think. We have driven through the city on the way back to the Swiss side of the airport where you turn off from Annemasse. That was fine, but then you would have to find your way back to French car hire. Unless it is so much cheaper to hire on the French side, I would be lazy and not bother! Smile
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It is generally significantly cheaper to rent on French side (sometimes by factor of 2), but....don't expect to get winter tires/chains/rack (or prepare to pay for them some exorbitant prices which will eat all your savings). So if you go late March, when you probably won't need them it's a good call....in Jan/Feb maybe not so much. You can just walk into the French side (don't remember about trollies) and it is easy to get out of the airport, but to drive thru Geneva you will need a GPS (ideally). There was a website describing different routes: you might try searching for it on this forum. Also check closing times for the car rental office: they seems to close earlier than on the Swiss side.
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Never been in the French bit of the airport, but based on the geography of the area I'd assume the French side opens up towards the Jura, so instead of heading south into Geneva you're better heading northwest into France and coming back down around Switzerland, thus avoiding it altogether?
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Quote:

Never been in the French bit of the airport, but based on the geography of the area I'd assume the French side opens up towards the Jura, so instead of heading south into Geneva you're better heading northwest into France and coming back down around Switzerland, thus avoiding it altogether?

It is a very long way round. I would not advice this at all.
alex_sauvage, I have been fined for arriving after the closing time on the Swiss side (flight was delayed) but never on the French side. Sixt, who operate on both sides of the border claim that they are open until 22:00 in France, but 23:30 in Switzerland, but I am sure I have been later than this in France with no trouble.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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alex_sauvage, I have been fined for arriving after the closing time on the Swiss side (flight was delayed) but never on the French side. Sixt, who operate on both sides of the border claim that they are open until 22:00 in France, but 23:30 in Switzerland, but I am sure I have been later than this in France with no trouble.

I am just going from the posted times. But I recall this spring when I picked up the car on French side, our plane was late and we arrived to the rental place quarter to 10. It looked like the guy was shutting down, but maybe there were no reservations left for that day. And they don't open very earlier either, but you can just drop the key into the box.
But yes, it is a long way around if one drives directly into the France. Just turn right once you get to the main road.
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Here is the information I found ion this forum sometime ago, but GPS sure helps there Smile

From Geneva Airport (French side).
From the airport take the exit road through the tunnel and turn right at the T-junction at the end. Cross the border into
Switzerland and follow signs to the Airport. IGNORE ALL GREEN SIGNS TO 'FRANCE' as these are for the Motorway
and a Vignette (£15) is obligatory. At the airport terminal follow 'Other Directions' and pass the terminal buildings
watching out for the World Trade Centre building on the right. Take the first turning on the right after the WTC building
and right again over the motorway, possibly signed France (in blue) and Geneva. You are now in Avenue Louis Cassai
and you follow this for about 1.4 kilometres, then take a right turn into Avenue de Pailly which should be signed France in
blue; you should also look for Pallettes, Plan-les-Ouates or Perly at this junction as you need all of them in turn. Take this
mainly dual carriageway for several kilometres, ignore the right turn to Pallettes when it goes off, go through the tunnel
and make a right turn for Plan-les-Ouates, the border at Perly and then St Julien en Genevois when you will pick up signs
for Annecy. About 2 kms after St Julien you cross over the motorway and at the roundabout go straight on for Annecy.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Fair enough, bow to your experiences. Does it really take a *long* time though? We're comparing it to going through Geneva city centre, not the motorway - at times it's taken me best part of an hour to get from the airport to the bridge!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If hiring a car on the French side, its a case of following the signs. I have done it a few times and never had an issue If in doubt take the sat nav, or simply print off a map to help as well. No issues at all
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Spinout, where are you heading to?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Spinout, 3 different routes recommended by GVA are shown here:

https://www.gva.ch/Portaldata/1/Resources/fichiers/publications/af.pdf

A is direct and uses the Swiss motorway.
B avoids the motorway.
C avoids Switzerland altogether.

Includes map, written instructions explaining which signs to follow and even photos of what to look for.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 6-11-13 10:39; edited 1 time in total
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Spinout, It is easy to drive round from the French side of the airport to the Swiss side. Just follow the only road out of the airport and turn right at the end of the road near the border. Probably the quickest way to the main autoroutes to the French Alps (A40 and A41) is to follow the green sign for France and take the main Swiss motorway that goes past the airport. You need a Swiss vignette for this short part of the journey which costs 40 CHF, they may check for this when you leave Switzerland at the manned border posts.
You can avoid the manned border post if you take the turn off signposted to Perly and then go through St Julien en Genevois, following the 'autre direction' signs leads you to the A40 and A41.

The return back to the French side of the airport is not that difficult once you know how but they are more likely to check for a Swiss vignette going into Switzerland (you can avoid the manned border post by following the signs for St Julien en Genevois). Following the signs for the airport will get you back to the right area until you are at the airport turn off but don't take this turn off as this will take you to the Swiss side of the airport. You need to carry on underneath the PALEXPO building and then take the next turn off signposted to Ferney. Follow the signs for Ferney, this will take you over a bridge then underneath the airport runway to a border post. You turn left just after the French side of the border post to the French side of the airport.

It is relatively easy, especially if you look on google map using the little orange man on street view before you go.
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There's lots of myths about the French side of Geneva airport - the reality is much simpler these days after Schengen
To get to it: go through Swiss passport control, pass the baggage reclaim, through Swiss customs and out to Swiss arrivals. Then take the lift or escalator to the first floor, turn right & the border is in the far corner. Usually it's not manned & you can take your trolley all the way through to the hire cars.
It's also much quieter than the Swiss side with no queues and you can get straight to the cars avoiding the transfer bus journey or walk to the car park if you hire there.
Easy & IMO the time taken to get in a car is quicker
Once you've picked up your car, follow the exit signs until you hit the main road (you'll be opposite a petrol station) then turn right, pass the border post (you can buy a Swiss vignette here - credit cards, Swiss francs, Euros all taken), under the runway and follow the signs to the Swiss motorway or into Geneva.
The motorway route to France is obviously easier (and I've never been stopped to look at the vignette going out of Switzerland/into France but have been on the way back) but going through Geneva is OK - just follow the Route de Ferney into the centre of town, go past the lake and take the road to Gaillard. From there you can pick up the AutoRoute Blanche to Flaine, Chamonix, etc. Again at the right time it can be quicker
The most important thing to consider is timing. Rush hour in and rush hour out of Geneva during the week is a nightmare both on the motorway and through town - try to avoid if you can. Obviously weekends are much easier
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Agree with janner, a lot simpler these days

The only tricky bit is once back in the airport and going from the French to the Swiss side. It is only tricky if you have cases or you need to check in, if you have hand luggage and a boarding pass it is a doddle.

From the French side follow the signs to the international sector, you have to go down some steps or an escalator so it is very difficult to take a trolley with cases through.
At the bottom of the steps you have two options depending on whether you have hand luggage and a boarding pass or whether you need to check in yourself or have luggage to offload.

If you have a boarding pass and just hand luggage you carry straight on at the bottom of the stair to the manned gate where they will check your boarding pass and hand luggage. Once through the you are on the 'air' side of the airport and can access any of the international departure gates.

If you need to check yourself or luggage in you have to turn left going through a small duty free area then the baggage reclaim area and out through Swiss customs to Swiss arrivals. You than have to take a lift or escalator up to the departure floor to the check in desks.
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Getting from the Swiss side to the French side: I described it to a mate as "follow the white rabbit" (shades of Alice...) and when he first saw it he understood what I meant...

But, to get the driving route thereafter on a map I usually go to via michelin and click avoid vignettes. I enter the start of the journey as Ferney Voltaire, which is where you end up when you drive out of the french side under the runway. I would have posted the url with the route but when I did it defaulted back to motorways. The important thing is the clicking of the avoid vignette.
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So long as you avoid Rush Hours and (sometimes) early Saturday evening, driving through Geneva isn't really that bad, but can be just a bit intimidating to the unwary in the centre with the trams, bus-only lanes and roadworks everywhere. However Chamonix is well signposted once you get over the main bridge over the lake and pretty simple to follow to get onto the French Autoroutes.

Alternatively you can come off the Swiss autoroute before the border crossing at Perly and go through largely country lanes through to Collonges-Sous-Saleve over the French border (and vice-versa on the way back)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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i've always just taken my chances and driven through anyway whenever i've been sans vignette. Never been caught yet. I just drive through the with vignette lane with a plan to plead ignorrance and buy one if i get caught Blush
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We got caught and stung earlier this year quite innocently I add as we had booked through the French sector and were skiing in France.

Looking at the map altis, has provided we must have turned right along the pink dotted road and along there the Swiss authority's where claiming their stealth tax and eddiethebus, no amount of pleading would sway their collection process!!
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northantsred wrote:
eddiethebus, no amount of pleading would sway their collection process!!


i'm not saying it would! they're never going to just let you drive on without paying!

if your in resort you can always sell a vignette as well (not legally, obviously, but they're always changing hands..)
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i'm not saying it would! they're never going to just let you drive on without paying!

Once upon a time a long long time ago I entered switzerland on the Basel road. Quite by accident I found myself at the motorway entrance to the country but had no intention of using any motorways in Switzerland at all. After a long discussion and pointing out that there was no where to stick the vignette on my motorbike they let me continue.
Quote:


if your in resort you can always sell a vignette as well (not legally, obviously, but they're always changing hands..)



How do you get them off? I would buy one once every year and keep changing them from car to car.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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How do you get them off? I would buy one once every year and keep changing them from car to car

Only stick them on carefully by one corner, but they are fragile (by design) and very sticky (ditto).
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The best way to get a transferable vignette is to buy it in the little hut as the lady will peel the backing off a bit and pass it to you. You can the stick the back in place again and drop the vignette in your tax disc holder... If you pay an agent direct he will stick it in your windscreen and then you've no chance of getting it off.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
albinomountainbadger, Or buy a vignette at a garage.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
rjs, I had no idea you could do that. Swiss garages only or French too?
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albinomountainbadger, I have never tried to buy one in France. I can't see why they would need to be available outside Switzerland, you stop at all the autoroute border crossings unlike going from Germany to Austria.

I have bought them from garages at Vallorbe and Martigny.
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Oh so not much use then, assuming you successfully get out of Switzerland after leaving GVA you're only going to need to buy a vignette on the way back, and in that case you may as well take your chances at the border.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
albinomountainbadger, I was really just suggesting another way to get one without someone sticking it to the windscreen.

There are plenty of garages near the airport.
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Thanks a lot- I plan to head to La Clusaz.
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rjs, ah OK understood.
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Here's another technique to skip the vignette patrol: http://www.thelocal.ch/20131112/car-flies-45-metres-over-swiss-border-hut
Quote:
The car rose at least five metres above the ground to clear the hut before landing on four wheels, according to a news release.
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albinomountainbadger, I'd make sure you take out collision damage waiver insurance before you attempt that one
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I wonder if the Swiss police would still fine you even if you had a vignette in the glove pocket, ready to transfer to another car or sell? Like UK road fund licence disks which must be "displayed". My sister once got fined because she hadn't got round to putting hers on the windscreen - even though it was in the glove pocket, ready. rolling eyes
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pam w, IIRC it does say on the label that it must be firmly attached to the windscreen. If it isn't then you haven't got one.

Your sister was a bit unlucky. The DVLA vans cruise around with automatic number plate recognition directly coupled to the database. I followed one down a residential street once; it took ages as they kept stopping, jumping out, clamping cars and moving on. Of course they would have driven straight past your sister's car
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Must be properly affixed. Thought that either Swiss or Austria (forget which), doubles the fine if the vignette is tampered or displayed but not properly affixed.
Don't recall mine now, but I thought that it's really obvious if the rear side is facing out, and even more obvious when the stub bit is still attached.

If you want to commit fraud, feel free. I'll only ROFL when you get 200CHF/EUR fine and are forced to buy another sticker.
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