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Old 17.05.2015, 19:01
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Swiss life versus French life - your advice

I wonder if many here have experience of both living in Switzerland and life as a frontalier.

I currently live with my wife and children in the Nyon area, where we've been living happily for about 18 months. My family has recently expanded, and we'd like to rent a bigger property. It's dawned on me that I'd be able to get significantly more space for my money if I move out to the Annecy area of nearby France. I work in Geneva, but there's no requirement for me to be in the office every day, so the idea of a longer commute by car doesn't faze me.

Financially it seems like a no-brainier to move across the border, but I wonder if I can draw on the experiences of anyone here who might have an insight into both sides. What are the pros and cons?
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Old 17.05.2015, 20:48
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

We live just above Evian-les-Bains and wouldn't be anywhere else [in the world probably]. We love it here and have all the benefits of proximity to CH and far lower costs. We have a glorious view of the lake, houses cost sometimes 50% of those in VD/GE and the general cost of living is also much less. Few weeks ago in our local Lidl here aubergines at 0.99 [special offer]. Same week in Migros 4.99 although it is not always such a marked difference. A few years ago there was a similar posting to yours and the chap and his family moved to Amphion-les-Bains and are still there. If you need further help or advice please send us a PM. We'll help you in a similar fashion if we can.
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Old 17.05.2015, 20:49
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

I've never been a frontalier, but I did live in France for 18-months. Now I am in Basel. I prefer Switzerland.

In Switzerland there is no government problem that cannot be solved with a bigger pile of paper, but in France there are problems the Fonctionaires simply cannot overcome. In 18-months, I never received my Carte Vitale and only had a proper Titre de Sejour for about 4 months. The French laissez-faire attitude, which oscillates between live-and-let-live and not-giving-a-f**k about anything is both a positive and a negative. If you're a happy-go-lucky type person, you'll probably be fine with the laisszer-faire attitude. I am more intense and driven, and I found it bothered me to look around and see inefficiency everywhere and no desire to fix anything.

France Pros: Shopping and food are better, less heavily processed foods (although French food does not meet its international reputation and is inferior to what one can find in North America, IMO). Less fear of heavy-handed police action. Far stronger consumer and personal rights.

France Cons: The French are not as nice to foreigners as the Swiss. The French will not talk slower so you can understand them. They will not respect you as a pedestrian. The air is more polluted. Dog poo and trash everywhere, so get used to walking with your head down. The French immigrant situation with regards to Algerians is a festering mess. The economy in rural areas is non-existent so I found the lack of hope depressing.

Annecy is by French standards very expensive, but if you are on a Swiss salary it should be fine. I think it's also very gentrified (I've only been once) so many of the social problems France has may not be evident. Also there is a lot of trains from Annecy to Geneve, so that's one way to avoid the parking lot that is the border.
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Old 17.05.2015, 20:53
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Make sure you totally understand the differences re Health Insurance/cover and unemployment benefits. Should you ever be unfortunate enough to lose your job, lving in Switzerland will make a huge difference. And of course if you think you might ever wish to apply for Swiss citizenship - you would have to come back to CH and start the countdown from 0.

Last edited by Odile; 18.05.2015 at 10:48.
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Old 17.05.2015, 21:09
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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We live just above Evian-les-Bains and wouldn't be anywhere else [in the world probably]. We love it here and have all the benefits of proximity to CH and far lower costs. We have a glorious view of the lake, houses cost sometimes 50% of those in VD/GE and the general cost of living is also much less. Few weeks ago in our local Lidl here aubergines at 0.99 [special offer]. Same week in Migros 4.99 although it is not always such a marked difference. A few years ago there was a similar posting to yours and the chap and his family moved to Amphion-les-Bains and are still there. If you need further help or advice please send us a PM. We'll help you in a similar fashion if we can.


Thollon les Mémises??
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Old 17.05.2015, 21:15
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Absolutely not!
Neuvecelle.....
For those who do not know the area[s] that's like asking Watford? when one lives in Rickmansworth!
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Old 17.05.2015, 22:42
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Lived in CH for allmost 33 years, now in France (rural Brittany).

Pro Swiss: It is clean, well organised in very many ways and the pay is good. They think their healthcare is the best in world. Which it is not, it is just very expensive. Low taxes (but 30-50% higher costs of daily living). Lovely country.
Contra Swiss: Lovely country, too many Swiss. The Swiss: conservative, arrogant and xenophobe. You will never be truly accepted even if you do get a red passport. You will not make real friends unless they are (partially) foreign. They will allways wonder why you are doing a job actually a Swiss should do. With "friends": stick to the wheather, sports, tv, gardening. Avoid swiss politics, religion and child upbringing. Complaining about foreign (German!) politics is very good. No sense of humour. Do not play on words/puns, they will think you are stupid and cannot speak german and therefore will not laugh at your jokes which will be embarrassing for you but they will pretend they do not notice.

Pro France: They know how to live. Period. Good healthsystem though complicated. Very friendly people (do not confuse Parisiens with the French) Welcoming, patient with foreigners. They will not talk slower or change to "high-french" or just start talking lowder. But they will explain the subject in another way. They admire multilinguals and are ashamed of their horrible pronunciation of German or English. Therefore they stick to French. Very good autoroutes though they cost (drive from Zürich to Bern and you will notice the difference). Humorous, they adore wordgames.
Contra France: They invented burocracy (though the swiss perfected it and made it profitable). But: everybody knows how to deal with it, even the burocrats. They take their time. Donot try do get a job done in May or between July-August. In a supermarket they will not open an other counter when 10 people are waiting but you will get a smile that will make your day.

I think I am biased

Cheers

Pieter
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Old 17.05.2015, 22:45
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Absolutely not!
Neuvecelle.....
For those who do not know the area[s] that's like asking Watford? when one lives in Rickmansworth!


But you cannot ski in Neuvecelle, whereas Thollon has such great views from the slopes.
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Old 17.05.2015, 23:05
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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I think I am biased
And not very relevant to this particular question, imo. France is a large country with regional differences in the standard of living and character of the people living there. Brittany is a bit far for someone needing to commute to Switzerland to work.
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Old 17.05.2015, 23:29
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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I think I am biased

And starting to sound like a stuck record.
I think we've all got message about your feelings for Switzerland by now.

Having lived in both countries I can safely say that I encountered plenty of French people who shared the negative qualities that you attribute to the Swiss but I wouldn't say that all the French are like that and neither are all the Swiss.
You can't base your opinion on a whole nation on the behaviour of a small percentage if the population as a whole.
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Old 17.05.2015, 23:39
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Indeed- same anywhere....

BTW I do find it strange that some people have left- for whatever reason/s- and just keep coming back on EF to post?!? Why not just quietly close the door behind them? I'd be the first to accept Switzerland is not for everyone- and fair enough- but just say your piece once and then go- and enjoy the amazingly perfect place you live in now Toodelooo- otherwise it seems a bit strange imho!
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Old 18.05.2015, 00:44
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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And starting to sound like a stuck record.

You can't base your opinion on a whole nation on the behaviour of a small percentage if the population as a whole.
Having lived in CH in Be, Zh and Tg and having had to deal with many thousands of Swiss on a very personal level AND having dealt with French from many parts of France ... yes I think I can and will base my opinion on that.

I feel I "spoiled" the largest part of my life in that country. Sure, that is my problem. But that will not keep me from speaking my mind.
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Old 18.05.2015, 01:12
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Indeed- same anywhere....

BTW I do find it strange that some people have left- for whatever reason/s- and just keep coming back on EF to post?!
Because they made a poor life decision and are trying to convince themselves it was actually a correct one.
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Old 18.05.2015, 03:46
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

and I was in Holland twice ,the first and last time .
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Old 18.05.2015, 11:33
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Hmmm Brittany must be it's own country after reading that None of the parts of France I know are
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Old 18.05.2015, 12:17
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

It's hard to believe that some have such trouble making friends here in CH and that despite living here for so long! We came here thinking that finally we'll get to catch up on old times with those friends who moved to CH a while back, but as it turns out we spend more time with our Swiss neighbours (who in the period of a year have now become friends) and other friends made through EF!

I think a lot of it is how you approach people (Swiss and others). If you look unfriendly, feel superior, annoy people with your "culture", then it is not surprisingly that people don't smile back!
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Old 18.05.2015, 12:29
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Hi,

Yes it is a no-brainer :-)

And given you currently work in Switzerland, you can stay in the Swiss Lamal system when you become frontalier.

In terms of the "French" or the "Swiss", my experience is that if your natural habitat is "internationally-minded people", don't move too far out into France. The French villages close to the border are almost as international as Nyon. Also many of the French people are themselves new to the region. But once you are 10-15km away, this changes. It depends what you are looking for.
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Old 18.05.2015, 12:30
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Having lived in CH in Be, Zh and Tg and having had to deal with many thousands of Swiss on a very personal level AND having dealt with French from many parts of France ... yes I think I can and will base my opinion on that.

I feel I "spoiled" the largest part of my life in that country. Sure, that is my problem. But that will not keep me from speaking my mind.
Hé hé- but you've never lived in Romandie or in Ticino- have you?

Of course you are entitled to speak your mind- and you have done it again and again (hence BM's mention of a stuck record...) but then it doe make one wonder why you would spend so much time saying the same thing here on EF - when you should be having a wonderful time in your very own perfect setting with the most perfect people? Just go and enjoy them- and as said, close the door quietly behind you and leave us to enjoy ours... Each to their own, no need for that bitterness and regrets - and we've got the message. Au revoir, adieu... et comme on dit en Romandie 'tout de bon' (all the best).
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Old 18.05.2015, 12:33
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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It's hard to believe that some have such trouble making friends here in CH and that despite living here for so long! We came here thinking that finally we'll get to catch up on old times with those friends who moved to CH a while back, but as it turns out we spend more time with our Swiss neighbours (who in the period of a year have now become friends) and other friends made through EF!

I think a lot of it is how you approach people (Swiss and others). If you look unfriendly, feel superior, annoy people with your "culture", then it is not surprisingly that people don't smile back!
I think we all have our own experiences and if bad things happen we can develop a bias. I know we still live in France and still seriously considering the move across the border and I know that I have had a few blah encounters in the country but mostly people have been super nice and friendly.

Do I encounter nice people in France? Of course I do, but I sure don't feel welcome most of the time. Not speaking fluent french makes a lot of things hard that isn't the case in Switzerland, where I do encounter non English speakers sometimes but they do tend to try to help vs just brush me off.

And the dog poo/rubbish thing is a real issue that funny enough I never saw in any of my trips to Switzerland.
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Old 18.05.2015, 13:38
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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I think we all have our own experiences and if bad things happen we can develop a bias. I know we still live in France and still seriously considering the move across the border and I know that I have had a few blah encounters in the country but mostly people have been super nice and friendly.

Do I encounter nice people in France? Of course I do, but I sure don't feel welcome most of the time. Not speaking fluent french makes a lot of things hard that isn't the case in Switzerland, where I do encounter non English speakers sometimes but they do tend to try to help vs just brush me off.

And the dog poo/rubbish thing is a real issue that funny enough I never saw in any of my trips to Switzerland.
Classic: the grass is always greener....
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