Crazy Border Facts for France/Switzerland & France/Spain

It may be worth a trip to Hotel L’Arbezie Franco-Suisse where you can literally sleep with your head in France and your feet in Switzerland. How about posting that experience on your social media? Great stories below include one about the history of that hotel as well as the history behind why a small 2 acre island changes hands between France and Spain every 6 months going back to 1648 – a symbol of peace, neutrality, and equality. Sounds more like a tug-of-war to me!  After you peruse these fun facts, here’s a link if you want to read more strange border facts


The Arbez hotel located on the exact border between France and Switzerland.

Guests at the Hotel L’Arbézie Franco-Suisse have the unique opportunity to sleep in two countries at once. The hotel sits right on the border between France and Switzerland in the alpine village of La Cure, 15 miles northwest of Lake Geneva. It was built between 1862 and 1863, when Napoleon III redrew the border between the two countries — right through the land owned by a French citizen named Ponthus Arbez, who decided to build a house on the border before it became official. At first, the French side had a bar and the Swiss side had a store, but when Arbez died, his sons converted the property into a hotel in 1921. Today, guests can cross between the international border in the hotel’s dining room, and some rooms even allow them to sleep with their heads in France and their feet in Switzerland.


Pheasant Island, an uninhabited isle on the Bidasoa River between Hendaye and Irun (Spain).

The border of Pheasant Island, located in the Bidasoa River between southwestern France and northeastern Spain, has changed more than 700 times. There are no permanent residents on the two-acre island and visitors are banned — except for twice a year, when government representatives from each country come together on the island to transfer ownership. The island is considered to be a symbol of peace and neutrality. After the Thirty Years War ended in 1648, France and Spain signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees on the island and made sure it would alternate ownership in perpetuity to demonstrate equality between the two nations. Pheasant Island is what’s known as a condominium, a territory belonging to two separate nations at the same time.