Ferney was home of French writer and philosopher Voltaire from 1758 to 1778. Voltaire's influence on the town was profound. He built the local church and founded cottage industries that produced some of the finest potters and watchmakers of modern France. After his death, the town was renamed Ferney-Voltaire in his honor.
Attractions include Voltaire's chateau, now owned and administered by the French Ministry of Culture and housing the Institute of the 18th century; various 18th century houses and artisans' workshops; many restaurants, French and foreign; and the nearby cosmopolitan city of Geneva in Switzerland.