Hotel Arbez – Les Rousses, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Hotel Arbez

Les Rousses, Switzerland

Part of this hotel resides in Switzerland, the other in France, and the border splits the honeymoon suite.  


Until 1862 the small village of La Cure, 3373 feet up (1028 meters) in the Jura mountains, was located entirely in France. However, due to a border dispute over Vallee des Dappes, part of the town was transferred to Swiss jurisdiction. The agreement stated that if the borderline bisected a building, it would not be disturbed. In La Cure this happened at four different properties, the most interesting of which is the Hotel Arbez.

The hotel dining room is bisected by the border, visitors have to venture into France to reach the bar. The main hall and stairway are bisected such that the lower stairs are in France, the upper stairs in Switzerland. One room in the hotel is located in France, while its bathroom is in Switzerland. The most notable division in the hotel however is the honeymoon suite, which is divided down the middle of the master bed.

The hotel was originally constructed as two separate buildings on the line of the proposed border as a grocery store and a bar in 1862. This was done to take advantage of the cross border traffic, and was only possible because of a delays to ratify a treaty in the Swiss parliament. The building opened as a hotel in 1921 after the grocery shop closed, and a linking building was constructed. 

During the German occupation of France during World War II, German soldiers were only allowed in the French parts of the hotel. The upper floors thus became a refuge for those fleeing persecution and for members of the French Resistance.

The hotel was used in 1962 for negotiations between the French Government and the Algerian FLN, which led to the end of the bitter conflict in Algeria

Know Before You Go

La Cure is the terminus of a fantastic little narrow gauge railway (which ran to Morez in France until 1958) down to the Swiss city of Nyon. It's electrified, and runs a combination of modern electric multiple units and historic cars dating back as early as 1916.

In the city, it runs along the streets like a tram. A great way to get to La Cure from Nyon. The combination of the drive up the Jura mountains from the French side and a ride on the train to Nyon is a great experience. 

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