Public Transportation

Public transportation around the Geneva area is excellent if you live relatively close to the city. Complete information on schedules, routes and how to get from point A to point B can be found on the TPG website.

Single-ride tickets can be purchased at the machines at each stop. BEWARE: these machines DO NOT GIVE CHANGE. You can also purchase a yearly or monthly pass.  Yearly passes can be purchased through the CERN Staff Association. Monthly passes can be purchased at the main train station (Cornavain). If you are at CERN short term and staying in a hotel in Switzerland, they can provide you with a free TPG pass for the duration of your stay.


Recommendations are to rent a car in the country you will be staying to reduce problems crossing the border.

Rent a car in Switzerland

At CERN:  CERN cars with the CERN logo are no longer available unless you sublet one from a group. CERN cars are usually booked far in advance (three months), no obligation of a full-year rental. Hertz and/or SixT cars are also available at CERN (at a favorable rate, it is believed) by contacting the Transport Department. Emmanuelle Villequez is the latest known contact but check the CERN Phone Book.

You may also try Patrick Location for lower rates than the better-known companies. Hertz, Avis, SixT and Europcar are well known.

For a lease (17 days of more), one might check Kemwel.

Rent a car in France

Ferney Voltaire: Budget: 04 50 40 67 87, around 650 euros per month Autohire: 04 50 42 88 41 , 440 euros per month for more than 3 months St Jean de Gonville: Opel rent: 04 50 56 39 87, 600 euros per month for more than 6 months.

Buy a car

To buy a car you must first have your papers (Attestation de fonctions). You can buy a car with your US driver’s license. If you buy from a dealer, they can take care of the insurance for you. is a useful website for comparing insurance costs.

To find a second hand go to Cern market:

Check in for France:

Check in for Geneva:

Car share service

In Switzerland there is a car share co-operative called Mobility.  Particularly if you live in Geneva, this can be an excellent alternative to owning or renting a car (or perhaps a second car). At least one USLUO family had a very good experience with convenience, quality of the cars, and the cost.

Plates and Swiss Highway Sticker


Mandatory. Cars are required to have a window decal sticker on the vehicle in order to travel the Swiss Autobahn. Owners must contribute 40 Swiss Francs to the treasury for these decals, which are available at the border offices, post office and some other government places. Those decals are good from January through December. They still cost 40CHF even if you by it on December 30th. IF YOUR RENTAL CAR DOES NOT HAVE ONE, YOU’LL NEED TO BUY ONE.

Driving License

In Switzerland

A Swiss driver’s license is (we understand) valid indefinitely, so it may be a good idea even if you are staying less than one year and it is not required.

In France 

For non EU citizens, any driving licence held by a person who is in possession of a special residence permit issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is recognised for driving on French territory during the period in which the special residence permit is valid. Most, if not all, US CERN users living in France hold a “Titre de sejour special”, or special residence permit.  A useful article on driving licenses with more information was published in a December 2008 CERN Bulletin.

This information is of special importance to holders of U.S. licenses issued by states that do not have a reciprocal agreement with France. (A list of states with reciprocal agreements from 2007 can be found here:

For further information:

Car Insurance

Compare prices at

In France If you live in France, you need to obtain your car insurance in France. You will need to get a 2 year certificate of “good driver” to get cheap prices.

Azur Assurance in St Genis, Maryline speaks English: 04 50 28 41 41 Cabinet Stephane Pibouleau in St genis: 04 50 42 16 32

In Switzerland For general information on insurance: Generalli Insurance in Geneva is one possible contact (Frederic Lama-Zanin).

TCS also offers a travel insurance that included repatriation of cars, emergency medical repatriation and trip cancelation (somewhat similar to AAA in US).