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    Posted by Raluca , 1 reply

    Hi there,

    I would truly appreciate if you could advise me so we can decide where in the Rhone-Alps area to move within the next 2 years.

    My husband and I have 3 kids and we are considering buying a plot of land or renting a house that we could restore within 30-40 minutes from the center of Geneva city. My husband travels a lot and works in finance, so he’ll be in and out of Geneva quite often.

    Also, the place where we move should have easy access to a good public school (I know “good” school is subjective, but maybe you are aware of some sources where I can learn about quality of schools?) and we’d love to be close to other expats.

    In one month, my husband and I are visiting the French surroundings of Geneva and if you can help with some suggestions that fit our profile, I’d be so glad!

    Thank you in advance for your support!



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    I’d advise you on going around places like Annecy or Chambéry. Both are not too far from Geneva, and are quite a bit “posh”. Good rule of thumb for schools: the posher the place (and bigger the city), the better the schools. Both may be quite expensive though. Less select would be Bourg-en-Bresse (which is a préfecture, France is divided into départements and each préfecture is the capital city of a département, very useful for redtapy situations), only an hour by train from Geneva and a lot less expensive. Thonon-les-Bains and Chamonix could also be great options, but they are touristy thus expensive. Thonon is right over the Lake Geneva and Chamonix is known for its closeness to Europe’s highest mountain, the Mont Blanc.

    I would *not* recommend Albertville as criminality has been on the rise there.

    Getting closer to Lyon (around 500.000 inhabitants) is also an idea if you like to be close to a big city (Lyon is 2 hours away from Geneva by normal train, and also 2 hours away from Paris by fast train, TGV). So, I’d actually suggest to find a small village on the eastern side of Lyon, so that you can go by car to Geneva if you want, shop whenever you want and go to Paris pretty much anytime you feel like it.

    If you really want to be closer than 2h from Geneva, Bourg-en-Bresse is an idea (and it’s also 2h away from Paris, in France everything is centered around Paris, you’ll see that quickly), as it’s only 1h10 by train. Chambéry and Annecy are abound the same.

    There’s also Bellegarde, but I didn’t even have heard about it before I browsed nearby train stations. Just next to Geneva, on the French side of the border, there’s also Annemasse.
    Question is, you want to be very close to Geneva, why not be just next to it? If you second main criteria is school quality, aim for Lyon.

    Here’s a high school ranking (it doesn’t really makes much more sense to compare middle schools, I don’t even think newspapers bother ranking them): http://www.lexpress.fr/palmares/lycees/lycee-enseignement-general-technologique.html (I put a lexicon at the end of my post, just in case)
    You’re very unlikely to find any top (nationalwise) high school outside of a big city in France.

    I mainly spoke about train transportation, as it is a LOOOOT more common than in the US and saves the hassle of owning a vehicle, paying the insurance…
    If you want to assess the distance by train to Geneva: http://voyages-sncf.com (again, see the lexicon if need be)

    Établissement: school (of whatever kind, here it’s high school)
    Ville: city
    Département: département number, state number
    Académie: regional academy (France is divided into académies named after their most important city)
    Statut: status, either privé (private) or public. Private means you pay a lot every year (a lot less than in the US, “only” a few thousand dollars every year), public means you don’t pay much or at all (you pay around $150~$250 every year for social sec

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