Haute-Savoie (; Arpitan: Savouè d’Amont or Hiôta-Savouè; Upper Savoy ; Obersavoyen or Hochsavoyen; Alta Savoia ) is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France, bordering both Switzerland and Italy. Its prefecture is Annecy. To the north is Lake Geneva and Switzerland; to the south and southeast are the Mont Blanc and Aravis mountain ranges.
It holds its name from the Savoy historical region, as does the department of Savoie, located south of Haute-Savoie. In 2016, it had a population of 801,416. Its subprefectures are Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois and Thonon-les-Bains. The French entrance to the Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy is in Haute-Savoie. It is noted for winter sports; the first Winter Olympic Games were held at Chamonix in 1924.
Before 1860, the territory occupied by modern Haute-Savoie and the adjoining department of Savoie had been part of the Kingdom of Sardinia since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Annexation of the region by France was formalized in the Treaty of Turin on .From November 1942 to September 1943, Haute-Savoie was subjected to military occupation by Fascist Italy. The Maquis des Glières (a band of Free French Resistance fighters who opposed the Nazi, Vichy, and Milice regimes during World War II) operated from Haute-Savoie.
Current National Assembly Representatives
GeographyHaute-Savoie comprises four arrondissements, divided into 281 communes and 17 cantons. To the north, it borders the Swiss Canton of Geneva and Lake Geneva; to the east the Swiss Canton of Valais and Italy's Aosta Valley; to the west the French department of Ain, and to the south the department of Savoie.
Haute-Savoie has the largest range of elevations of all the departments in France; the lowest point is 250 m in the Rhône River Valley, and the highest Mont Blanc at 4810.40 m. Some of the world's best-known ski resorts are in Haute-Savoie. The terrain of the department includes the Alpine Mont Blanc Range; the French Prealps of the Aravis Range, the Chablais, Bornes and Bauges Alps; and the peneplains of Genevois haut-savoyard and Albanais (known collectively as L'Avant-pays savoyard). Its mountainous terrain makes mountain passes important to trade and economic life. Some of the most important are the Col de la Forclaz (which connects Chamonix to the Canton of Valais) and the Mont Blanc Tunnel, linking Chamonix to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley.
ForestsAs of 1996, 178624 ha of Haute-Savoie is forested (38.8 percent of the total land area), compared to 34.4 percent for the Rhone-Alpes region and 27.1 percent for France as a whole. Of the forested area 141063 ha (79 percent) is managed for timber and other forest products, with the remaining 37561 ha having no commercial value or used for outdoor recreation.National nature reserves are designated by the French government as areas where an outstanding natural heritage is present in both rare and typical areas in terms of species and geology. Management is charged to local organizations, with direction and evaluation focusing on long-term protection for future generations and environmental education. Of the 37561 ha of land not managed for timber, Haute-Savoie has nine national nature reserves totaling 24542 ha.
LakesHaute-Savoie has significant freshwater resources. Lake Annecy is a major attraction, along with the town of Évian-les-Bains, perhaps the best-known town on the French shore of Lake Geneva, and known worldwide for its Evian mineral water. Haute-Savoie is entirely within the watershed of the Rhone.
DemographicsPopulation development since 1861:
In 2006 approximately 142000 ha of land was suitable for agriculture, of which 33600 ha (24 percent) was arable land suitable for market gardening, cultivation or pasture; 600 ha was orchards; 300 ha was vineyards, and 108300 ha was alpine tundra or grasses. There were 4,450 farmers in 1999, 4,800 farmers and over 1,700 full-time farm employees at the end of 2006. In 1999, crop production was valued at €71.5 million and animal production at €165.4 million.Dairy production is a large part of the Haute-Savoie economy, earning €117.2 million in 2006 and representing 74 percent of the net animal-product worth. Cattle earned €29.7 million. Cheese production (by variety) in 1999 (except as noted) was:
CraftsIn late 2000 crafts occupied 15 percent of the workforce, or 28,443 employees and 1,922 apprentices. The 11,951 companies represented on the Répertoire des Métiers (Trade Index) were divided into:
Construction and public worksIn late December 2000, building construction and public works included 13,867 employees in 4,838 companies as follows:
TradeIn late December 2000, the trade sector accounted for 33,994 employees in 9,351 companies as follows:
RetailIn late 2006, the département had 600 commercial establishments in over 300 m2 (for a total area of 705419 m2), including:
From 1998 to 2005, 65 new supermarkets were built for an area totaling 50000 m2. The average expenditure per capita in 2006 was €21,706. With the 2004–2007 rise of the euro, Swiss customer traffic decreased five or six percent (Swiss shoppers make up half the shoppers in the Geneve Savoyard district). At the end of 2006, traditional small businesses (less than 300 m2) represented 84 percent of businesses and 40 percent of retail space.
Companies4,301 companies were established in 2004 in Haute-Savoie: nearly 80 percent in the service sector, with a high percentage offering service to individuals (hotels, restaurants, recreational, cultural, sports, personal and household services). This accounted for 21.6 percent of new businesses. The most active sectors were real estate (up 24 percent), construction (up 15.4 percent), business services (up 12.4 percent) and the food industry (up 10 percent).
IndustryIn 1999, Haute-Savoie had 2,779 industrial companies producing 13.60 percent of all business income.
Companies in Haute-Savoie
Screw-cutting is a precision parts-machining industry, and Haute-Savoie generates the bulk of French screws. Firms engaged in screw-cutting are major employers in the department. While the automotive industry is the principal client, firms also service the electronics, household-appliance and medical sectors.
Arve Industries is part of 67 "competitiveness clusters" created in 2005. The cluster is dedicated to mechatronics and includes 60,000 industrial jobs in over 280 companies (primarily small), 1,200 researchers and 250 patents in 2002. Among the projects supported by the cluster is inertial tolerancing, a new approach in evaluating the quality of machined parts. Based on the Taguchi loss function, inertia is defined by its deviation from its target. Inertial tolerancing is a research-and-development program supported by the cluster for its member companies. It is led by a research team from the Symme Laboratory of the University of Savoie and the CTDEC (Centre Technique du Decolletage). The publication of the French standard NFX 04-008 demonstrates the relevance of topics covered by the cluster.
Other programs involve the production of clean parts (4P project), developing new models of customer-supplier relationships to improve the effectiveness of simultaneous engineering tasks, and development of the international visibility of the cluster and its members. The companies concerned are involved with industrial mechanics, precision engineering, precision turning and sub-assemblies and mechanical assemblies, often associated with integrating technologies such as plastics, electronics and hydraulics. Markets served by member companies of the cluster include transport (cars, trucks, rail and air), production and distribution of electricity, hydraulics (gas or liquid, high-pressure vacuum), medical and health-related.
ResearchThe research sector in Haute-Savoie filed 201 patents in 2000. It is represented by:
ServicesIn late December 2000, the service sector employed 75,768 people in 11,129 companies in:
TourismAs of late December 2000, the tourism sector had a total of 635,000 beds divided as follows:
In 1999 there were 37.9 million overnight stays: 56 percent in winter and 44 percent during the rest of the year.
Cross-border workersMany people who live in Haute-Savoie (more than 52,200 in November 2006) work in Switzerland (in the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais). The phenomenon has accelerated since bilateral agreements concluded between Switzerland and the European Union, of which a significant part concerned free movement of people. In 2007, commuting increased over 12%.
Effective June 1, 2007, a resident of Haute-Savoie may freely work in Switzerland. The department and municipalities receive compensation ("frontier funds") allocated to municipalities in proportion to the number of border residents there. Following an agreement signed in Geneva in 1973, the Canton of Geneva transferred to Haute-Savoie 3.5 percent of total worker compensation, equivalent in December 2006 to €77.687 million.