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  #1  
Old 22 Apr 2011
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Fuel in France on Sunday ?

Hi

Travelling to the Pyrenees from the UK in May and need to do the last 300 miles on a sunday, I know in rural areas the petrol stations aren't manned and only accepts French cards but are all the motorways stations going to be manned and ok for fuel ?

Thanks

Neil
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  #2  
Old 22 Apr 2011
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You can get petrol at supermarkets on Sundays no problem. Also I've used my credit cards in French machines. A lot give you the option of selecting "English" before you start. I've even had them automatically change to English when the machine recognises it's a UK card. They're getting quite modern over there you know! Ha ha.
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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If your last day involves a bit of motorway riding you won't have any problems with the services. They'll take UK cards in the normal way. Off the motorway it can be a bit more tricky. Many of the cheaper places (supermarkets mainly) are automated and more often than not (based on my experiences over the last five years) they've rejected my UK card. The ones that will - no problem. They're the ones with flashy displays and auto recognition that it's a UK card, as FD said. The ones that don't, well that can be a problem if you're down to your last drops of fuel and you've stopped at one of them. Just make sure you're searching for fuel when you've still got enough to try somewhere else.

Even on a Sunday though there are often manned stations open in most reasonable size towns but they may not be obvious. A number of times I've had to ask locals where the nearest manned station is and been given directions to what feels like the industrial estate.
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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Just a piece of advice: don't wait too long, I've managed to run out of fuel on a sunday early afternoon. No fun in rural areas, believe you me

Generally I agree to what backofbeyond and Flyingdoctor have said - you'll be fine on motorways and don't count on machines taking anything other than French credit or debit cards. I've tried German and US and neither have worked. On the other hand if you'll carry enough cash with you it shouldn't be too hard to find a local with a card that works.
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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Thanks for the replies guys , so if I stay on the motorways 'all ' the petrol
stations will be manned ?
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by jqd05a View Post
Thanks for the replies guys , so if I stay on the motorways 'all ' the petrol
stations will be manned ?

We go down to the Alps frequently using the autoroutes and I've never yet had problems at a motorway station, day or night - I even got fuel when they were on strike last Oct. As here you'll pay a bit more, but if it's that or nothing ...
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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If you'll be on the N10 the truck stop at Barbezieux is open Sundays so you can pay a person, and buy pepper spray in two different sizes!
About 2km north into town theres an E Leclerc which is the cheapest fuel for a long way around, but I don't know if it'll be manned on a Sunday, perhaps a machine only. AA says 280km to Biarritz.

A lot of the smaller supermarches are open Sunday am for the locals to get bread. And I haven't had a UK credit Visa or Mastercard refused in France for years (15?!), and even then waited for a local, gave them the cash and used their card. Friendly lot the French!

The exception to that may be prepay cards like Caxton FX, but I'm not sure on that.

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Old 22 Apr 2011
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Smile

Even if you get stuck- if you wait, someone will come along- as long as you have cash, you can do a swop- they will use their cards to draw fuel and you pay them-
Or a local will take pity on you and come with a can
Or you could wander up the local cafe- a huge source of info etc there.
Or you could ring someone's doorbell with "pouvez-vous m'aider ? J'ai besoin d'essence"

the possibilities are endless
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Old 7 May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
Even if you get stuck- if you wait, someone will come along- as long as you have cash, you can do a swop- they will use their cards to draw fuel and you pay them-
Or a local will take pity on you and come with a can
Or you could wander up the local cafe- a huge source of info etc there.
Or you could ring someone's doorbell with "pouvez-vous m'aider ? J'ai besoin d'essence"

the possibilities are endless
+1
Done that a load of time's. So far never been caught out. The French in all are a helpful bunch.
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Old 23 May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
Even if you get stuck- if you wait, someone will come along- as long as you have cash, you can do a swop- they will use their cards to draw fuel and you pay them
+1 from me too, I have done exactly that quite often.

Just be sure to carry some small denomination Euro notes with you - I suggest you stash a few 5 Euro notes in a pannier for exactly this purpose, in case you get caught at a gas station that is closed and won't accept your credit card.

The credit card machines at 24 hour gas stations seem to be more reluctant to accept foreign credit cards than the ATMs are, perhaps because of fraud in the past.

Michael
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