Saint-Genis-Pouilly is a commune in the Ain department within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France.

Saint Genis-Pouilly
The church in Pouilly
The church in Pouilly
Coat of arms of Saint Genis-Pouilly
Coat of arms
Location of Saint Genis-Pouilly
Saint Genis-Pouilly is located in France
Saint Genis-Pouilly
Saint Genis-Pouilly
Saint Genis-Pouilly is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Saint Genis-Pouilly
Saint Genis-Pouilly
Coordinates: 46°14′37″N 6°01′30″E / 46.2437°N 6.0250°E / 46.2437; 6.0250Coordinates: 46°14′37″N 6°01′30″E / 46.2437°N 6.0250°E / 46.2437; 6.0250
IntercommunalityPays de Gex
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Hubert Bertrand
9.77 km2 (3.77 sq mi)
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
01354 /01630
Dialling codes0450
Elevation419–502 m (1,375–1,647 ft)
(avg. 450 m or 1,480 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

It is located in the Pays de Gex, at the foot of the Jura Mountains. Bordering the Swiss frontier, it is part of the cross-border area of Geneva. With a population of over 12,000 inhabitants, it is one of the ten most populous towns in the department of Ain.[2]

A large portion of CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, is located within the territory of Saint-Genis-Pouilly; the ALICE experiment is located on the periphery of the town, and the main entrance to the primary CERN campus (Meyrin) and the ATLAS experiment are located only 3 km from the centre of St Genis. CERN is the world's largest fundamental physics research laboratory and its presence has largely been responsible for the development of the community of Saint Genis since the middle of the 1960s.


Saint-Genis-Pouilly is composed of two market towns (Saint-Genis and Pouilly) and two hamlets (Pregnin and Flies). The two market towns have both continued to expand and now practically merge into one, however the two hamlets still remain separate from each other and from the two towns. The elevation of the commune varies from 419 m (at the extreme south of the commune, to the confluence of the rivers Allondon and Nant de l'Ecra) to 502 m (at the extreme north of the commune, in the village of Flies). The commune is situated at the limit between the plains surrounding Geneva and the first foothills of the Jura. As indicated on the map opposite, the communes surrounding Saint-Genis-Pouilly are: Thoiry, Sergy, Crozet, Chevry, Prévessin-Moëns and Satigny (Swiss).

Communes bordering Saint-Genis-Pouilly


Many water courses traverse or border Saint-Genis-Pouilly: Lion, Allondon, Nant de l'Ecra, Bief de la Janvoin, Ouaf, Grand Journans and Petit Journans. In 2005 and 2006, these water courses were subject to a ban on water extraction as a result of the drought. In 2004, only the Allondon and the Lion would have been restricted.[3] The depth of the Allondon is measured at Saint-Genis-Pouilly by a network HYDRO station which transmits these readings by telephone.[4]


The meteorological station situated at Geneva International Airport, Cointrin, furnishes measurements of the weather relevant to Saint-Genis-Pouilly. This station is situated only 6.5 km from the centre of the commune and at a similar altitude (420 m).[5] Data from this station is available in real time from MétéoSuisse.

Saint-Genis-Pouilly, like the whole of the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva, knows the touch of the Joran, the cold wind which descends towards Lac Léman from the high Jura, where it sometimes provokes a storm.

Natural risksEdit

According to a study [6] made in 2002, commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and the Forests of Ain, Saint-Genis-Pouilly is classed in a zone at risk from flooding. According to another official publication,[7] the commune is classed in a zone at risk from torrential downpours and rapid flooding. However, according to the list of major risks [8] to Saint-Genis-Pouilly published on the portal of the website of the Ministry of Ecology, "Prevention of major risks", the commune is classed in a zone at risk from overcrowding from man's activities. These three different qualifications of risk cannot be explained.

Along with the other communes in the canton of Gex, Saint-Genis-Pouilly is classed in seismic zone Ib, which is to say that the seismic risk is low.[9] A new classification is being prepared by the Ministry of Ecology,[10] but it does not seem that this will significantly change the classification of the communes in the Pays de Gex.

Nature zonesEdit

That part of the Allondon valley which is found within the territory of the commune constitutes a natural zone with interesting ecology, fauna and flora (ZNIEFF type I).[11]

The commune is lightly wooded (the area occupied by trees is between 10 and 20%[12]).


It was in 1887 that the current name, Saint-Genis-Pouilly, first appeared on the State civil registers. Previously, Saint-Genis-Pouilly was called Pouilly-Saint-Genis. Before that, the two towns were separately identified. Historically the spelling Saint-Genix had been widely used.

In his historical Atlas, G. Debombourg placed Pulliacum in the epoque of the second reign of the Bourgogne (879-1032) and he placed the church of Pouilly-St-Genis on the religious maps.[13] In these "Preuves" he cites a text of 993 which mentions Pulliacum.[14]

A diary of 1698 mentions a certain Balthazard as a noble of Prengin, in the Pays de Gex (perhaps this is the name given during this epoque to the current hamlet of Pregnin). Between 1601 and 1789 mention is made of the Baronnie of Saint-Genist. [15]

Names of the area with a Gallo-Romanic origin, Polliacum, Pulliacum, derived, with the suffix -acum from the root name Paulius or Pollius.[16]

Towards the end of this time, Saint Genis took on a greater importance. Its takeover of the Postes Royales (next to the current chapel) kickstarted the growth of the town and Pouilly-Saint-Genix soon became Saint-Genis-Pouilly.

Pregnin figures in the Procès-verbaux du Directoire.[17] The name of Saint-Genis, as in the case of Saint-Genis-Laval, probably comes from Saint Genest, a Roman comedian from the second half of the 3rd century, martryed under Diocletian.[18]

Roman periodEdit

The Roman colony Colonia Iulia Equestris founded by Julius Caesar between 50 and 45 BC extended as far as Thoiry and included the territory which was to become Saint-Genis-Pouilly.

The villa of Pouilly had been occupied by a rich family, as evidenced by the jewelry found there.[19]:35

The place called les châtelets, situated to the north of Pregnin took its name, without doubt, from the presence in the 2nd century of a small fort situated on the Roman road running along the Jura.[19]:29

Middle AgesEdit

A priory was established at Pouilly at the end of the 10th century.[19]:49

In 1301, Uldric, the Seigneur of Saint-Genis renewed his allegiance to the Dauphin.[19]:67

18th centuryEdit

Cassini's map of 18th century Geneva, based on measurements taken by Calon de Felcourt between 1759 and 1761, shows the town of Pouilly and the hamlets of Pregnin and Flies. A windmill on the site of St Genis can also be identified. The road from Lyon to Geneva and the fork towards Gex are also clearly visible. These roads, easily identifiable by the route they trace through the Pays de Gex, still exist today.

Notable eventsEdit

A few (albeit rather rare) events in the history of the commune :

Year Event
 1590  The château of Pouilly was destroyed by order of the Conseils.[20]
 1591  The Spanish army of Don Olivaros sacked the Pays de Gex with sword and fire.[21]
 1601  As part of the Pays de Gex, Saint-Genis-Pouilly was reattached to France.
Restoration of the fiefdom of Saint-Genix by Françoise of Lambert.[22]
 1662  The Protestant temple of Pouilly was destroyed on 30 November by order of the Evêque of Geneva.[23]
 1722  The Seigneurie of Saint-Genix was ceded to the Evêque and the Prince of Geneva.[24]
 1887  First mention of Saint-Genis-Pouilly as the name of the commune.


It was the extension within France of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in the middle of the 1960s which made Saint-Genis-Pouilly the little town ("coquette")[25] that it is today. It is also thanks to the presence of CERN that the local economy has undergone considerable growth and diversification.

Coat of armsEdit

Until recently, the commune used an azure coat of arms with three gold towers. Today, the commune uses exclusively a modern logo which figures prominently on the pages of its Web site and in its publications.


The population of Saint-Genis-Pouilly has grown rapidly since the middle of the 1960s, largely due to the activities of CERN:

Population History of Saint-Genis-Pouilly since 1936

One of the consequences of this rapid expansion of the population (along with those of the neighbouring communes in France and Switzerland) is the rapid increase in house prices. For example, the price per square metre of an apartment in the Pays de Gex increased by 59% between 2000 and 2004, according to INSEE.[26]

Its inhabitants are known as Saint-genésiens.

An international populationEdit

In addition to CERN, the proximity of Switzerland and the international organisations headquartered in Geneva explains why a significant proportion of the population of the commune are foreigners. According to the census taken by INSEE in 1999, the commune contained amongst its 6,383 inhabitants 1,697 foreigners [27] (making 26.6%). By way of comparison, the département of Ain contains, at the time of the recent census, amongst its 515,478 inhabitants 40,903 foreigners[28] (making 7.9%).


Most housing in Saint-Genis-Pouilly is in apartment blocks (67.8%) and individual houses (31.3%).[29] The apartment blocks are concentrated in the town of Saint-Genis.

The commune has a significantly larger proportion of individual residences to apartment blocks than the other communes in the district: More than two-thirds (67.8%) of Saint-genésiens live in apartment blocks, less than one Gessien in two (46.5%) live in apartments.[30]

The majority of the population in the Pays de Gex, Ain, the Rhône-Alpes region, and mainland France are owner-occupiers of their homes. In Saint-Genis-Pouilly, by contrast, the majority of the population live in rented accommodation (only 43.6% of individual residences are owner-occupied). Within the Pays de Gex, only Ferney-Voltaire has a lower proportion of owner occupiers (33.5%).[31] It is possible that this peculiarity is explained by the large number of employees living in the two communities who work for international organisations.



The commune is presently administered by M. H. Bertrand and his team. The results of the second round of the municipal elections on 18 March 2001 was as follows:

Party Head of party Votes % Seats
Un avenir pour tous H. Bertrand 859 48,67 22
En avant M. Hayotte 689 39,04 6
Unis pour réussir M. Mugnier 217 12,29 1

In total, from the 3,023 registered electors, there were 1,807 votes cast and 1,765 votes counted.[32]

Municipal budgetEdit

The commune expended in 2005 a total revenue spend of €6.64 million and a total capital investment of €4.06 million, however these figures have increased to €7.96 million (revenue) and €3.69 million (capital). It has therefore reached an overall positive result of €0.96 million this year. At 31 December 2005, Saint-Genis-Pouilly was indebted to the amount of only € 2.12 million, being €288 per inhabitant (the communes of between 5,000 and 10,000 inhabitants — (la strate) — had an average debt of €935 per inhabitant). Whereas the receipts from the "taxe professionnelle" have been weak: €0.53 million (equivalent to €72 per inhabitant against the average of the (strate) of €211 per inhabitant).

Local taxationEdit

Rate of Taxe d'habitation in effect within the Pays de Gex in 2006 (Saint-Genis-Pouilly in red)

For several years the rate of the Taxe d'habititation (local council tax) has been fixed at 7.78%. As indicated on the chart opposite this rate was, in 2006, approximately equal to the average for the Pays de Gex: 7.69%.[33]

Cantonal electionsEdit

Election Ward Title Name Date
Municipales Saint-Genis-Pouilly Maire H. Bertrand 18 March 2001
Cantonales Ferney-Voltaire Conseiller général J. Boch 28 March 2004
Législatives Ain - 3ème Député E. Blanc 16 June 2002

National referendaEdit

For the referendum on the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, on 29 May 2005, 1,865 of the 3,089 electors who voted and the 1,838 (suffrages) expressed on this occasion which were reported in the following manner: 1,087 Yes (59.14%) and 751 No (40.86%).

For the referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht, on 20 September 1992, 1,814 of the2,576 electors who voted and the 1,774 (suffrages) expressed on this occasion which were reported in the following manner: 1,186 Yes (66.85%) and 588 No (33.15%).

The inhabitants of Saint-Genis-Pouilly are therefore more europhile than the rest of the French population who rejected the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, and approved by only a slim majority (51.04%) the Treaty of Maastricht.

Note: Unless indicated otherwise, the results presented above are taken from the Ministry of the Interior.

Cultural lifeEdit


The church of Saint Pierre at Pouilly (porch and choir from the 13th century) is without doubt the most well known element of religious architecture in the commune. The church is Roman, except for the choir which is Gothic.

Some ruins from the small fortified château (from 13th century) are still visible in Flies. Gallo-Roman sepulchres and others from the 6th-8th centuries can still be found in the cemetery surrounding the church at Pouilly.


CERN brings to the community an opening on to the world of physics which is perhaps unique in the world. Conferences are very frequently organised and some of these are open to the public. It is possible to visit the exhibition centre at CERN and also, with a prior appointment, to make a half day visit to CERN itself.


The construction of the Théâtre du Bordeau has finished and the theatre is now open. This modern theatre offers a 250-seat auditorium for use by amateur dramatic groups, dance, music and other dramatic arts.

Sculpture and related subjectsEdit

Pregn'Art is an annual weekend event in the course of which several local artists exhibit their work in the gardens of the inhabitants of the hamlet of Pregnin. It is one of the events dedicated to sculpture and related subjects.

Traditions and folkloreEdit

The principal fete of the commune is the Bird Festival "La fête de l'oiseau", which took place between 4 and 7 June on 2010.


The municipal swimming pool is the Piscine municipale de Saint-Genis.[34]

Economic lifeEdit

Since the creation of the Technoparc, Saint-Genis-Pouilly has become a centre of economic activity in the Pays de Gex.

Free trade zoneEdit

Saint-Genis-Pouilly benefits, as do all the other communes in the Pays de Gex, from the specific laws implementing the free trade zone. Under this arrangement, merchandise imported or exported to and from the European Union is not subject to customs duty. If this law has known important changes in the past,[35] it seems to have stabilised today.


According to the annual employment survey carried out by INSEE[36] in 2004, the unemployment rate in the commune was 7.9% (compared to 7.4% in 1999).


Preschool and primary school groups include Groupe scolaire du Jura, Groupe scolaire du Lion, Groupe scolaire de Pregnin, and Groupe scolaire Boby Lapointe.[37]

The local junior high school is Collège Jacques Prévert, it opened in 1974 whilst using the École du Lion facilities and moved into its permanent facility in 1975.[38]

Lycée international de Ferney-Voltaire has a branch campus in Saint-Genis-Pouilly, which opened in 2016.[39] it is in the Porte de France Nord development.[40]

Médiathèque George Sand, which has media for rental, is in the commune.[41]

Twin townsEdit

Since 2006 Saint-Genis-Pouilly has been twinned with Mogliano Veneto (Italy).


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ Insee. "Populations légales 2014: Commune de Saint-Genis-Pouilly". Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  3. ^ Observatoire Départemental de l'Eau - Département de l'Ain. "Mesures contre la sécheresse". Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  4. ^ The readings provided by this station are available here. The record of the height of the Allondon in the medium term is available from the website of the Observatoire départemental de l'Eau.
  5. ^ However, because this station is further from the Jura mountains than Saint-Genis-Pouilly it underestimates the rainfall experienced in the commune. In effect, as we can see by consulting the bulletins mensuels|monthly bulletin published by Météo France for the Department of Ain, more rain falls as we move away from the lake and approach the summit of the Jura.
  6. ^ Commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and the Forests of Ain. "Département de l'Ain - Risques naturels" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  7. ^ Préfecture de l'Ain. "Communes concernées par le risque inondations". Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  8. ^ Ministère de l'Ecologie et du développement durable. "Risques majeurs - Saint-Genis-Pouilly". Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  9. ^ Ministère de l'Ecologie et du développement durable. "Zonage sismique de la France". Retrieved 2007-05-10.
  10. ^ Ministère de l'Ecologie et du développement durable. "Nouvelle carte d'aléa sismique". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  11. ^ ZNIEFF type I are often small zones which present a particular natural interest (e.g. display a protected animal or vegetable species). They assist in the preservation of the biotopes concerned. Further information is available on the site INPN.
  12. ^ Département de l'Ain. "Document de gestion de l'espace agricole et forestier - Taux de boisement - Carte" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-05-24.[dead link]
  13. ^ Debombourg, Georges (1859). Atlas historique du département actuel de l'Ain. Printer: Louis Perrin.
  14. ^ Debombourg, Georges (1859). Atlas historique du département actuel de l'Ain, preuve no 71: "In nomine .. Rodolphus rex ... Pulliacum villam in abbatia Agaunenfe per praecetum concederemus ... hoc donativum fummae pietatis gratia peractum hunc praeceptalem fieri praecipimus ..."
  15. ^ Debombourg, Georges (1859). Atlas historique du département actuel de l'Ain, map for the period from 1601 to 1789.
  16. ^ Henry Suter. "Noms de lieux de Suisse romande, Savoie et environs". Archived from the original on 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  17. ^ Archives nationales. "Procès-verbaux du Directoire, An V - An VIII, Tome 3 (p.97)" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  18. ^ Other origins have also been suggested. There are many mentions in another encyclopedia.
  19. ^ a b c d Malgouverne A., Melo A. (1986). Histoire du Pays de Gex - Tome 1 : des origines à 1601. Intersections.
  20. ^ Voir Histoire de Genève depuis son origine, A. Thourel, 1832, Tome 2, p. 338.
  21. ^ Voir Histoire de la réunion a la France des provinces de Bresse, Bugey et Gex sous Charles-Emmanuel Ier, J. Baux, ?, p. 338.
  22. ^ Voir Histoire politique et religieuse du Pays de Gex ..., J. Brossard, 1831, p. 411; reprise du fief de Farges (auquel le cens de Pouilly est attaché) par Pompée de Gribald (p. 418); mention is also made of the rejoining of the (cens) of Pouilly to the fiefdeom of Flies (p. 418); mention of the rejoining of the (rentes) and (cens) of Saint-Genix to the fiefdom of Sergier (p. 416) but also of Pougny (p. 417)
  23. ^ Voir Histoire des églises réformées du Pays de Gex, T. Claparède, 1856, p. 130.
  24. ^ La France protestante, E. & E. Haag, 1858, p. 412
  25. ^ The town received its 2nd flower in 2006 Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ INSEE Rhône-Alpes (February 2007). "Prix des appartements: forte hausse du côté français de l'agglomération transfrontalière de Genève" (PDF). La Lettre (68). Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  27. ^ INSEE. "Recensement de la population francaise de mars 1999 - Donnés pour Saint-Genis-Pouilly". Retrieved 2007-04-30.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ INSEE. "Recensement de la population francaise de mars 1999 - Donnés pour l'Ain". Archived from the original on 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
  29. ^ Category of dwelling 2004 census.
  30. ^ Estimated from series R_MRP data of the 1999 census Archived 2007-08-06 at the Wayback Machine. Using series P_LOGB yields sometimes different figures. This is due to the latter not distinguishing principal residences from the rest (therefore, communes having a large part of summer or winter seasonal lodging, mainly collective, are given a high collective lodging ratio, which does not reflect the habitat of the dwellers; this is the case of e.g. Lélex).
  31. ^ 2004 census.
  32. ^ Le Pays Gessien, Friday 23 March 2001
  33. ^ Préfecture de l'Ain. "État des impositions locales levées par les communes en 2006". Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  34. ^ "La piscine municipale de Saint-Genis." Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.
  35. ^ Santschi C. et al. (1982). Encyclopédie de Genève. Association de l'Encyclopédie de Genève. Tome 1, pp 109-111.
  36. ^ INSEE. "Enquête annuelle de recensement 2004 - Chiffres clés" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  37. ^ "Ecoles maternelles et élémentaires." Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Collège Jacques prévert." Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Présentation historique." Lycée international de Ferney-Voltaire. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.
  40. ^ "Lycée international." Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.
  41. ^ "Médiathèque George Sand." Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Retrieved on 10 November 2018.

External linksEdit