There is a hotel on the border in the Vaud Jura. The changeover due to coronavirus is only one chapter in its history. The owner of the Swiss/French hotel, together with his sister, is Alexandre Peyron. The hotel has been on the border since 1921, with one entrance in Switzerland and one in France, with two addresses and two telephone numbers.
Peyron experienced the border up to the corona pandemic primarily as a curiosity. The guests were able to book a room with a double bed, half in Switzerland, half in France.
Various strict measures
Due to coronavirus measures, owners of this hotel and guests have to follow the rules coming from two sides. As dual French-Swiss citizens, they can only leave the hotel on the French side with a self-declaration. On the Swiss side, there are fewer restrictions and more personal responsibility.
Love at the border
At the reception on the hotel’s French side, there’s an entry in the guest book – words of thanks from a Swiss-French couple. Peyron, the owner of the hotel, helped two lovers meet at the hotel. The Frenchwoman had arrived illegally and was not allowed to drive several hundred kilometers. In general, the hotel closes on the French side and opens on the Swiss side. This romantic act filled Peyron with joy.
Grandfather was a hero
His grandfather, however, was much more heroic. There are photos and diplomas on the walls – General de Gaulle and the Israeli state. During the Second World War, Max Arbez helped French resistance fighters and Jews to flee to Switzerland through the hotel.
In the dining room, the mobile partition along the border takes on new meaning during the corona crisis. On the French side, Peyron has set up a schoolroom for his children, nieces, and nephews. On the Swiss side, it’s full of hotel guests.
Negotiations with Algeria
The dining room was also used for high-level political negotiations. In 1961, the preliminary negotiations for the Evian contracts were held, which sealed the end of the war between France and Algeria.
This unique place was predestined for this – the French diplomats entered the dining room from France, the Algerian representatives via Switzerland. It’s so weird and interesting at the same time.
History of the hotel continues
The hotel has also been a hub for smugglers in the past. Alcohol or cigarettes used to change sides here. Peyron always laughs when he talks about smuggling back in the days.
Face masks are now readily available in Switzerland, but this is different in France. So Peyron gives his neighbors on the French side a mask from time to time.
He is proud to be making history in the current situation. The pandemic is just another chapter in the eventful history of the French-Swiss hotel.
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