Switzerland vs. France (Not a Football Match)

Oddly enough, living in France near the Swiss border has more disadvantages than advantages. At first I thought it would be nice to be close to another country that isn’t even in the EU. Geneva’s international airport has served me well over the years, but I’ve got to say that I’ve never actually spent time in Geneva other than to go to the airport or to catch a train to Germany. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Switzerland, but it’s just too expensive and the trains between France and Switzerland aren’t all that convenient.

The main reason I don’t like being close to the border is the higher cost of living. So many people in Annecy and Annemasse commute to Geneva everyday for work and they earn twice as much money as people who are doing the same job in France. Property prices in Haute-Savoie have skyrocketed because of this, though they are still below the average prices in Geneva. Our taxe d’habitation even increased 100€ in one year because the taxes in and around Annecy went up so much. If Annecy is awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics, I hate to think how much more expensive it will become.

Now that we live in Chambéry, prices are slightly better  because we’re further from the border. But I still hear complaints from French people who work in Switzerland that “all Swiss people hate the French.” How is complaining that a nationality is racist towards you NOT also racist towards them?? I get sick of hearing these rich people complain about their working conditions. If you don’t like working in Switzerland, then don’t do it. But then they’d have to earn a typical French salary like everyone else in the country, and that would be horrible! After earning 3000-4000€ a month, how could they ever go back to a measly 1500€?

The extreme right political party in Switzerland, which has already been trying to ban the building of minarets, is now attacking French workers in Geneva. They call them “racaille” and even “criminels étrangers” in their latest newspaper ads in response to the CEVA project to start train service between Geneva and Annemasse to make it easier for commuters to get to and from work. I understand that they’re mad about the high unemployment in the Geneva area, but calling French people scum?? Come on.  How about you just give out fewer work permits to French people?

I wonder if tensions are as high in other bordering countries. I can’t imagine so since almost all of the other countries are EU and therefore must allow French people to work there. There is no debate about work permits. None of them offer much higher salaries like Switzerland either. And of course, the language barrier probably prevents many French people from working in Germany or Italy or Spain… But what about Belgium? Are salaries higher there? Do a lot of people in Lille commute to Belgium to work?

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  • http://laprochainefois.blogspot.com/ cathy

    never thought about that. i have relatives who live on the swiss/german border, but i’m not sure if there is any tension there. but ill be sure to ask now!
    .-= cathy´s last blog ..a staple plus a st honoré =-.

  • http://laprochainefois.blogspot.com/ cathy

    never thought about that. i have relatives who live on the swiss/german border, but i’m not sure if there is any tension there. but ill be sure to ask now!
    .-= cathy´s last blog ..a staple plus a st honoré =-.

  • http://laprochainefois.blogspot.com cathy

    never thought about that. i have relatives who live on the swiss/german border, but i’m not sure if there is any tension there. but ill be sure to ask now!
    .-= cathy´s last blog ..a staple plus a st honoré =-.

  • http://eileen.likeafrog.org/ Eileen

    I was under the impression people generally make more money in Luxembourg… but I could be wrong about that.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Train tickets =-.

  • http://eileen.likeafrog.org/ Eileen

    I was under the impression people generally make more money in Luxembourg… but I could be wrong about that.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Train tickets =-.

  • http://eileen.likeafrog.org Eileen

    I was under the impression people generally make more money in Luxembourg… but I could be wrong about that.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Train tickets =-.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    “I wonder if tensions are as high in other bordering countries.”

    I’m sure I’m gonna make a few friends by saying that, but the problem is not a question of bordering countries or even of higher salaries, the problem is Switzerland…

    “And of course, the language barrier probably prevents many French people from working in Germany or Italy or Spain…”

    The language barrier is very porous you know. I can’t talk for all bordering areas, but in the few I know a little (that is Alsace, and the French/Spanish border) most people know the language of the other country rather well (if not bilingual, close to it).
    .-= David´s last blog ..Quiz =-.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    “I wonder if tensions are as high in other bordering countries.”

    I’m sure I’m gonna make a few friends by saying that, but the problem is not a question of bordering countries or even of higher salaries, the problem is Switzerland…

    “And of course, the language barrier probably prevents many French people from working in Germany or Italy or Spain…”

    The language barrier is very porous you know. I can’t talk for all bordering areas, but in the few I know a little (that is Alsace, and the French/Spanish border) most people know the language of the other country rather well (if not bilingual, close to it).
    .-= David´s last blog ..Quiz =-.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    “I wonder if tensions are as high in other bordering countries.”

    I’m sure I’m gonna make a few friends by saying that, but the problem is not a question of bordering countries or even of higher salaries, the problem is Switzerland…

    “And of course, the language barrier probably prevents many French people from working in Germany or Italy or Spain…”

    The language barrier is very porous you know. I can’t talk for all bordering areas, but in the few I know a little (that is Alsace, and the French/Spanish border) most people know the language of the other country rather well (if not bilingual, close to it).
    .-= David´s last blog ..Quiz =-.

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com/ Linda

    My son and his family lives in Swizterland now and they find it very racist, especially that political party you mentioned. They are very anti-immigrant. They aren’t happy with his family of 4 sons either being a country with a negative birth rate. He gets many rude comments and stares.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Luxembourg Gardens =-.

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com/ Linda

    My son and his family lives in Swizterland now and they find it very racist, especially that political party you mentioned. They are very anti-immigrant. They aren’t happy with his family of 4 sons either being a country with a negative birth rate. He gets many rude comments and stares.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Luxembourg Gardens =-.

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda

    My son and his family lives in Swizterland now and they find it very racist, especially that political party you mentioned. They are very anti-immigrant. They aren’t happy with his family of 4 sons either being a country with a negative birth rate. He gets many rude comments and stares.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..Luxembourg Gardens =-.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    People make a ridiculous amount of money in Luxembourg, especially since it’s mostly banking and technology jobs. The northern area of Lorraine would have been in a much worse state after the mines closed if not for the easy access to jobs there. It’s funny to see such fancy cars in all the small border towns! Less funny is the housing prices obviously. However, English is a must for most companies, so finding tutoring students is never a problem in this area!
    .-= Andromeda´s last blog ..So blonde it hurts =-.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    People make a ridiculous amount of money in Luxembourg, especially since it’s mostly banking and technology jobs. The northern area of Lorraine would have been in a much worse state after the mines closed if not for the easy access to jobs there. It’s funny to see such fancy cars in all the small border towns! Less funny is the housing prices obviously. However, English is a must for most companies, so finding tutoring students is never a problem in this area!
    .-= Andromeda´s last blog ..So blonde it hurts =-.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    People make a ridiculous amount of money in Luxembourg, especially since it’s mostly banking and technology jobs. The northern area of Lorraine would have been in a much worse state after the mines closed if not for the easy access to jobs there. It’s funny to see such fancy cars in all the small border towns! Less funny is the housing prices obviously. However, English is a must for most companies, so finding tutoring students is never a problem in this area!
    .-= Andromeda´s last blog ..So blonde it hurts =-.

  • http://ki4kqd.net/ Roger

    Nice post. Very informative. And we Americans thought the French people were the snobs…
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Twitter Points And Decision Points =-.

  • http://ki4kqd.net/ Roger

    Nice post. Very informative. And we Americans thought the French people were the snobs…
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Twitter Points And Decision Points =-.

  • http://ki4kqd.net/ Roger

    Nice post. Very informative. And we Americans thought the French people were the snobs…
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Twitter Points And Decision Points =-.

  • http://travellingamber.blogspot.com/ Amber

    I live in Lille and there are a fair amount of French who commute to Belgium thanks to the TGV connecting Brussels and Lille. On the other hand though, there are also a lot of Belgians who work in France, or French who live in Belgium but work here.
    The Belgians typically have lower salaries, but they also have a lower cost of living. They pay their taxes twice a year, and if you think a taxe d’habitation is bad, rumor has it that the Belgians not only pay this, but that they also pay car taxes, road taxes (you’d never know it if you’ve driven there) and somebody once told me they even pay taxes on their pets (which may or may not be true). But, they receive not just a 13eme mois, they also get a 14eme mois.
    The only conflicts I can think of that occur between the two countries are when we go into Flemish Belgium, where we are better off speaking English than French if we want service at a restaurant or the correct directions to our destination, for example.

  • http://travellingamber.blogspot.com/ Amber

    I live in Lille and there are a fair amount of French who commute to Belgium thanks to the TGV connecting Brussels and Lille. On the other hand though, there are also a lot of Belgians who work in France, or French who live in Belgium but work here.
    The Belgians typically have lower salaries, but they also have a lower cost of living. They pay their taxes twice a year, and if you think a taxe d’habitation is bad, rumor has it that the Belgians not only pay this, but that they also pay car taxes, road taxes (you’d never know it if you’ve driven there) and somebody once told me they even pay taxes on their pets (which may or may not be true). But, they receive not just a 13eme mois, they also get a 14eme mois.
    The only conflicts I can think of that occur between the two countries are when we go into Flemish Belgium, where we are better off speaking English than French if we want service at a restaurant or the correct directions to our destination, for example.

  • http://travellingamber.blogspot.com Amber

    I live in Lille and there are a fair amount of French who commute to Belgium thanks to the TGV connecting Brussels and Lille. On the other hand though, there are also a lot of Belgians who work in France, or French who live in Belgium but work here.
    The Belgians typically have lower salaries, but they also have a lower cost of living. They pay their taxes twice a year, and if you think a taxe d’habitation is bad, rumor has it that the Belgians not only pay this, but that they also pay car taxes, road taxes (you’d never know it if you’ve driven there) and somebody once told me they even pay taxes on their pets (which may or may not be true). But, they receive not just a 13eme mois, they also get a 14eme mois.
    The only conflicts I can think of that occur between the two countries are when we go into Flemish Belgium, where we are better off speaking English than French if we want service at a restaurant or the correct directions to our destination, for example.

  • http://shakesrear.livejournal.com/ shakesrear

    My husband’s from Alsace and most of the people there can speak German and many work in Germany. I don’t think the border towns have these tensions – it’s just Switzerland.
    .-= shakesrear´s last blog .. =-.

  • http://shakesrear.livejournal.com shakesrear

    My husband’s from Alsace and most of the people there can speak German and many work in Germany. I don’t think the border towns have these tensions – it’s just Switzerland.
    .-= shakesrear´s last blog .. =-.

  • http://www.searchofficespace.com/uk/ London Offices

    Your post is very informative. Cause I look for an office in France near Luxembourg.
    Thanks

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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