We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

at Cheadle
1 post
Save Topic
Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

I am confused by what I've read about Geneva airport and wonder if anyone can help me?

We fly into Geneva in the evening, are booked to stay at the Novotel Airport Hotel on the French side and then return the following day to pick up a car for a fortnight's holiday in Doussard [French Alps]. Car hire quotes seem cheaper the Swiss side but I am wondering whether it will be a hassle to re-enter the aiport the next day from the French side, hire a car on the Swiss side and then drive through to France. EasyJet hasn't provided any helpful answer to my query and I'm keen to book the carhire as soon as possible.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,727 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Once you leave the secure area at the airport you can't get back in there unless you are flying that day so the only way you could get from France - your Novotel - to the Swiss side of the airport would be to take local busses into Geneva and connect to the airport. A much better idea would be to arrive in Geneva and go straight through on the Swiss side and pick up your car there. It is probable that the rentals are cheaper because our VAT is only around 8% and theirs is 20% or so.

Once you get your car you can then very easily drive to the Novotel - the border crossing is at the end of the runway and you simply follow blue signs to Ferney-Voltaire.

When you return the car you drop it on the Swiss side and then walk to the departure area (Swiss side). Get your boarding pass and go through to the gate.

You could also ask the hotel if they will take you around to the Swiss side - but I rather doubt they will do this as it is quite a bit further.

Travelling The World
Destination Expert
for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
Level Contributor
16,618 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Just to be clear, you can re enter the French secure area and go to the French car rental desks if you have a car reservation. There is no hassle in re-entering the airport to pick up a rental car, either from the French or Swiss sides.

I agree with Hambagahle. Just rent the car as soon as you arrive, unless the extra day costs a whole lot more.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,727 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Yes, but Worldtraveller -- Can the OP arrive with the hotel shuttle at the French side and then walk through to the Swiss side to get his car? I don't think so, as he will have to show a baording card for a flight. If I am wrong about this, please tell us (and for his sake, I hope I am since it would make things easier for him!!) But as far as I understand, unless he is checking in for a flight he cannot walk through the airport from the Fr side to the Swiss, then leave Customs and get his car.

Travelling The World
Destination Expert
for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
Level Contributor
16,618 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

I quote from the GVA website:

"Now that Switzerland is part of the Schengen area, anyone wanting to pass through Geneva International Airport (Arrivals and Departures) is obliged to enter Swiss territory and must hold the necessary documents to enter Switzerland (except when flying to/from a French airport - when the flight counts as a domestic one and provided they enter/leave the Airport via the French sector)."

So departing passengers, whether from France or Switzerland, must now pass through the Swiss side in any event, unless they are boarding a French domestic flight. So wherever the shuttle leaves ClerkatCheadle, he will have to come to the Swiss side as he is not departing on a French doemstic flight.

Malibu, CA
Level Contributor
9 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

I am also heading to Geneva in August and had a similar question as the poster...in particular, I saw that the prices for rental cars are much less on the French side of the Geneva airport than the Swiss side. Is there any reason why I could not rent from either side of the airport? I will be touring South France and ultimately return to Geneva for my flight home.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,727 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

You can rent from the French side but this creates some problems if you are planning to travel in Switzerland:

1. On arrival at GVA go to the French sector and hite your car.

2. Then check to see that the car has a Swiss "vignette" or sticker for the motorways. IF it doesn't you will have to buy one at the border crossing (althoguh maybe the car hire company can sell you one). The cost is 40frs ($40). This will allow you to drive on the Swiss motoways.

3. When you return the car you must do so to the French side. You need to cross into France at the Ferney-Voltaire crossing and turn left immediately after the Customs post. This brings you inside the airport perimeter...and will bring you to the place to drop the car.

You can also drop the car anywhere else in France or in Monaco for a small fee. Very reasonable. But if you drop it in Switzerland or another country the drop charge will be huge!

Atlanta
Level Contributor
2 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

I have a French Schengen visa and i need to go to Switzerland as my first trip to Schengen. Is it possible to get out of the Geneva airport from the French sector and then cab/bus it to Geneva city in the Swiss side?

Travelling The World
Destination Expert
for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
Level Contributor
16,618 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Where are you flying from? You will only arrive at the French sector if you are taking a direct flight from a French airport, e.g. Paris or Nice. Flights from any other country arrive at the Swiss sector.

If you have a Schengen visa you will have no problem in any case. You simply go through Swiss passport control on arrival (whether on the French or Swiss side) and then exit the airport on to Swiss territory where all transport options are available.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,727 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Seems to me that if you arrive in the French sector (ie have a domestic French flight) then you will have gone through French Immigration, with your visa, in order to be able to take that flight. There is no Immigration control anymore betweent he French and Swiss sectors. If you arrive from some place other than France you will go through Schengen control at the Swiss Immigration then you just take the train into Geneva. There would be no need in that case to go into the French sector...

Travelling The World
Destination Expert
for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
Level Contributor
16,618 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Car Hire from Geneva Airport - Swiss vs. French side?

Yes, that's correct. No passport control if you arrive on a French domestic flight as you are already in Schengen.