Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Looks familiar, right? You need to put gas in your car. You want to use your debit card. You know how it works in the States. Works the same here in France, right? Wrong! It took me several tries the first time I used my French debit card to get it right. I kept swiping it...like you do in the States...and nothing would happen. Finally, I figured it out. You don't swipe it; you put it in and leave it. Takes a few seconds. In fact, the screen displays this message "Patientez" (Be patient). When it finally recognizes that someone has put a card in it,  it asks you what kind of gas you'd like...

I have 'gazole' burned into my brain. My car is diesel, and this is what diesel gas is called in France. In case you're interested, it's pronounced 'gaz-wall.' Anyway, I don't want to ever make the same mistake some friends made a few years ago when they put the wrong kind of gas in their French rental car. Not a good day for them! So, you push the appropriate button. In my case, the 'gazole' one. Then you wait...patientez again.

 After being 'patientez' a while longer, the machine asks for your code. Are you surprised that you must be 'patientez' once again? Voila...your code is 'bon" (good), so then you are told how many euros you're entitled to spend. Mine always says 198, but thank goodness, I usually only spend 30 euros. One more question to answer before you begin pumping, though. Do you want a receipt ticket? You must answer this question before you receive your final message 'retirez votre carte' (remove your card). Like a lot of things in France, using your debit card for gas is not a quick and easy process. But 'c'est la vie!'

Don't even get me started on trying to figure out gas mileage. How many liters per kilometer? How do you convert that to miles per gallon? Do I even want to know??


  1. no you don't want to know - life is too short - but not too short for patientez :-)

  2. I wonder what they thought you were doing taking photos of the machine. It took me ages to work out how the credit card pumps work. However, it makes me feel a bit better when I help French people to figure it out!