In France, you can banque on it.

They are the same but different

Plus ca change

This is my bank. Well, okay, I do share it with quite a few others. You will see them all over France. They advertise that they are different. And they are. Each and every one.

Let me explain. I have an account in La Colle sur Loup. A short bus ride away.

There is a CA in Villeneuve-Loubet, which I can I walk to in 20 minutes.

So one sunny day I am having lunch in Villeneuve-Loubet, watching people park their cars…ouch…ah well…There are two kinds of cars in France, brand new and dented.

Well fed and amused I realise I must get some cash ( whatever is left over from lunch) into my account to pay for my rent.

I could go to the CA next door to the restaurant but as my rent is due on direct debit tomorrow I decide on the 15 minute walk and 6 minute bus ride to my branch. I  go to pay in the required amount. I then say to the bank teller. It will go in today won’t it? It was cash.

He shakes his head. Demain. This word, if you live in France is like Greve. You will know it. Tomorrow and Strike, accordingly. He then adds cheerily. If you go to Villeneuve-Loubet it will go in today. D’oh!

Why? I had to ask. Different machine, he says solemnly.

Of course. I should have known because whenever I pay into CA in different towns, the system is different. Different machines, you see. Some branches have envelopes that you stuff with cash and then you tap in your account number and off it goes. Others, you put your card into the machine and whip it out ( no pin required) a metal mouth opens, you put cash in. It closes. Counts. Amount appears on-screen and off it goes. Other branches you have to use your pin number and card. Oh I could go on but I’m bored, so you must be.

So, here’s my point. Never assume. It may say Credit Agricole but never try to remember the system because they probably put in a new machine since you were last there. And don’t forget to shrug, when it goes wrong. That remains the same. Everywhere. Bon chance.


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