Practicing Creativity

Border Markers Between France & Switzerland – Les Bornes Frontières

One thing our recent confinement has made me do is notice more of the interesting things around me I take for these innoxious border markers. If you're walking in the countryside along the French and Swiss borders, you will likely come across one of these bornes frontières. There are around 6,600 of them scattered between the two countries. The borders between the Canton of Geneva and the Savoy in France have been bickered over throughout history. The Canton of Geneva (there are 26 Swiss cantons) has not always been formally part of Switzerland. It only officially joined the Confédération Suisse (Switzerland's formal French name) in 1815. The same goes for Savoy. The House of Savoy (Savoie in French) was a powerful independent sovereignty that only formally became part of France in 1860. It's rather a complicated history (the House of Savoy also governed wide swaths of Italy), so to keep things short, let's just say around 1766 they started putting up these bornes to mark the agreed upon boundaries between the two states, and again in 1818 after yet more treaties were signed in 1815 demarcating the borders.

We pass two of these bornes on our daily walks. We live in France, but right on the border with Geneva, Switzerland and our walk winds between the two countries. The first borne in the photos above has a large 'G' for the Geneva side and a fleur-de-lis representing the Savoy/French side.

The second borne  is taller than the first one and its Geneva side has the République et Canton de Genève official crest. The crest has been worn away a bit, but the image below shows you what it looks like. This is also the image used on the Canton's flag.


  1. Hi Shani, I love your blog.
    Merci beaucoup
    Rene from OZ x

  2. I just love these informative posts, Shani! They always make me wish I could explore your neighbourhood.


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