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Why are French people now crossing the border to dine and shop in Switzerland?

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Why are French people now crossing the border to dine and shop in Switzerland?
Why are Swiss cafes near the French border now suddenly much more popular? Photo: Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

People from France are now crossing the border into Switzerland to go shopping and visit restaurants, reversing the long-standing trend of going the other way. Why?


The Covid pandemic has led to a new phenomenon few living in border areas thought they would ever see.

The French have reversed decades upon decades of one-way shopping traffic and are now heading to Switzerland to go shopping and visit restaurants. 

Up until this point, people from Switzerland were far more likely to cross into France to go shopping and even to eat and drink, due to the comparatively low prices and the relative ease of crossing the border. 

What has led to the reversal of the usual practice where the Swiss go shopping in France to save money?

‘Swiss crush’: Shoppers from Switzerland head to France after stores close

It appears the trend has shifted due to France putting in place stricter rules regarding vaccinations as part of the pandemic. 

In France, 11 departments are now requiring the health pass to enter shopping centres, expanding it from restaurants and leisure facilities where it has been required for some time. 


This the case also in Haute-Savoie since Monday, where authorities said they were concerned about "the very worrying health situation".

The region, which is adjacent to the Lake Geneva area, now has six shopping centres on the mandatory list, with 350 shopping centres on the list in France in total

France’s health pass requires people to be fully vaccinated, have recovered from the virus in the previous six months or have tested negative in the past 72 hours. 

No such measures are in place in Switzerland at the moment for shopping, visiting bars or restaurants, although those visiting nightclubs and larger events will need Switzerland’s Covid certificate, the Swiss version of the ‘pass sanitaire’. 

UPDATED: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

Not only the retailers, but also bars and restaurants on the Swiss side of the border have seen the influx of French customers,

"We now have 30 to 40 percent more customers (since before France changed the rules)”, Arianit Pira, manager of Auberge de Perly in Geneva, told Swiss news outlet RTS on Monday. 

As a thank you, "we should send a bottle to Mr. Macron”, he added. 




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