French commune
name = Saint-Genis-Pouilly
region = Rhône-Alpes
department = Ain
arrondissement= Gex
canton = Ferney-Voltaire
insee = 01354
cp = 01630
diallingcode = 0450
time zone = GMT +1
mayor = Hubert Bertrand
mandat = 2008-2014
intercomm = Pays de Gex
latitude = 46.2437
longitude = 6.0250
alt average = 450 m
alt mini = 419
alt maxi = 502 m
hectares = 977
area = 9.77
population = 7237
date-population = 2004
density = 665.0

Saint-Genis-Pouilly is a commune in the department of Ain in eastern France.

It is located in the Pays de Gex, at the foot of the Jura. Bordering the Swiss frontier, it is part of the cross-border area of Geneva.Because of its population, it is one of the ten most important towns in the department of Ain. [cite web | last = Ministère de l'Intérieur | title = Le département de l'Ain | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] Its habitants are know as "Saint-genésiens".

A large portion of CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, is located in the territory of Saint-Genis-Pouilly. CERN is one of the top locations in the world for fundamental research and it is the presence of CERN that has been responsible for the development of the community 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 together into one, however the two hamlets still remain separate from each other and from the two towns.The altitude of the commune varies from 419 m (at the extreme south of the commune, to the confluence of the rivers Allandon and Nant de l'Ecra) at 502 m (at the extreme north of the commune, in the village of Flies).The commune is situated at the limit between the plain and the first rising of the Jura.As indicated on the map opposite, the communes surrounding Saint-Genis-Pouilly are: Thoiry, Sergy, Crozet, Chevry, Prévessin-Moëns and Dardagny (Swiss).


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 Allandon and the Lion would have been restricted. [cite web | last = Observatoire Départemental de l'Eau - Département de l'Ain | title = Mesures contre la sécheresse | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] The depth of the Allandon is measured at Saint-Genis-Pouilly by a network HYDRO station which transmits these readings by telephone. [The readings provided by this station are available [ here] . The record of the height of the Allandon in the medium term is available from the website of the [ Observatoire départemental de l'Eau] .]


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

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.] 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 risks

According to a study [cite web | last = Commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and the Forests of Ain | title = Département de l'Ain - Risques naturels | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] 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, [cite web | last = Préfecture de l'Ain | title = Communes concernées par le risque inondations | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] the commune is classed in a zone at risk from torrential downpours and rapid flooding.However, according to the list of major risks [cite web | last = Ministère de l’Ecologie et du développement durable | title = Risques majeurs - Saint-Genis-Pouilly| url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.05.14 ] 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. [cite web | last = Ministère de l’Ecologie et du développement durable | title = Zonage sismique de la France | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.05.10 ] A new classification is being prepared by the Ministry of Ecology, [cite web | last = Ministère de l’Ecologie et du développement durable | title = Nouvelle carte d’aléa sismique | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.05.12 ] but it does not seem that this will significantly change the classification of the communes in the Pays de Gex.

Nature zones

That part of the Allandon valley which is found within the territory of the commune constitutes a natural zone with interesting ecology, fauna and flora (ZNIEFF type I). [ZNIEFF type I are often small zones which present a particular natural interest (eg. display a protected animal or vegetable species). They assist in the preservation of the biotopes concerned. Further information is available on the site [ INPN] .]

The commune is lightly wooded (the area occupied by trees is between 10 and 20% [cite web | last = Département de l'Ain | title = Document de gestion de l'espace agricole et forestier - Taux de boisement - Carte | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007.05.24 ] ).


It was in 1887 that the actual 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. The spelling Saint-Genix had been quite frequently used. Pouilly was a little Roman city which probably took its name from the Latin "Appolliacum".

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. [Debombourg, Georges (1859). "Atlas historique du département actuel de l'Ain". Printer: Louis Perrin.] In these "Preuves" he cites a text of 993 which mentions "Pulliacum". ["Ibid.", 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 ..."]

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". ["Ibid.", map for the period from 1601 to 1789.]

Names of the area with a Gallo-Romanic origin, Polliacum, Pulliacum, derived, with the suffix -acum from the root name Paulius or Pollius [cite web | last = Henry Suter | title = Noms de lieux de Suisse romande, Savoie et environs | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] .

It is probable that under the Roman occupation the church in the village was to be dedicated to Apollon.

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

Pregnin figures in the Procès-verbaux du Directoire [cite web | last = Archives nationales | title = Procès-verbaux du Directoire, An V - An VIII, Tome 3 (p.97) | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] .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 IIIe century, martryed under Dioclétien. [Other origina have also been suggested.. There are many mentions in another [ encyclopedia] .]

Roman period

The Roman colony "Colonia Iulia Equestris" founded by Julius Caesar between 50 et 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. [Malgouverne A., Melo A. (1986). "Histoire du Pays de Gex - Tome 1 : des origines à 1601". Intersections. p. 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. [Ibid., p. 29]

Middle Ages

A priory was established at Pouilly at the end of the 10th century. [Ibid., p. 49]

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

18th century

The map of ancient Geneva by Cassini, with the measurements taken by Calon de Felcourt between 1759 and 1761, shows the town of Pouilly, the hamlets of Pregnin and Flies, and also the windmill at St Genis can 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 events

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

In total, from the formatnum:3023 registered electors, there were formatnum:1807 votes cast and formatnum:1765 votes counted. ["Le Pays Gessien", Friday 23 March 2001]

Municipal budget

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 formatnum:5000 and formatnum:10000 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).

Note: The numbers given above are extracted from the collective accounts for 2005 published by the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry [cite web | last = Ministère de l’Économie, des finances et de l’industrie | title = Finances locales - Les communes | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] .

Local taxation

For several years the rate of the Taxe d'habititation (local council tax) has been fixed at formatnum:7.78%. As indicated on the chart opposite this rate was, in 2006, approximately equal to the average for the Pays de Gex: formatnum:7.69%. [cite web | last = Préfecture de l'Ain | title = Etat des impositions locales levées par les communes en 2006 | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.04.31 ]

Communauté de Communes

Political life

Municipal elections

A more complete list of the mayors of the commune is available elsewhere. [cite web | last = FranceGenWeb | title = Les maires de Saint-Genis-Pouilly | url = | format = | accessdate = 2007.05.13 ]

Cantonal Elections

National referenda

For the referendum on the "Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe", on the 29 May 2005, formatnum:1865 of the formatnum:3089 electors who voted and the formatnum:1838 (suffrages) expressed on this occasion which were reported in the following manner: formatnum:1087 Yes (59.14%) andformatnum:751 No (40.86%).

For the referendum on the "Treaty of Maastricht", on the 20 September 1992, formatnum:1814 of theformatnum:2576 electors who voted and the formatnum:1774 (suffrages) expressed on this occasion which were reported in the following manner: formatnum:1186 Yes (66.85%) andformatnum:588 No (33.15%).

The inhabitants of Saint-Genis-Pouilly are therefor 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 life


The church of Saint Pierre at Pouilly (porch and choir from the 13th century) is without doubt the most well know 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.

culpture and related subjects

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 folklore

The principal fete of the commune is the Bird Festival “La fête de l'oiseau”, which took place this year (2008) from 30 May until 2nd June.

Economic Life

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

Free trade zone

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, [Santschi C. et al. (1982). "Encyclopédie de Genève". Association de l'Encyclopédie de Genève. Tome 1, pp 109-111.] it seems to have stabilised today.


According to the annual employment survey carried out by INSEE [cite web | last = INSEE | title = Enquête annuelle de recensement 2004 - Chiffres clés | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007.04.27 ] in 2004, the unemployment rate in the commune is 7.9% (compared to 7.4% in 1999).

Town twinning

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

External links

Official Websites

* [ Ville de Saint-Genis-Pouilly]
* [ Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex]
* [ Technoparc - Pays de Gex]
* [ INSEE census information]

Notes and references

"Based in part on the article in the French Wikipedia."

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