Looking around on my computer at old photos yesterday, I found these three. They are wall art.
You might be surprised to learn where I took the photos.
Well, for the first time, I wasn't able to pay with the American magnetic-stripe card. The company has new card readers, and they are no longer equipped with a slot you can swipe a U.S. card through. If you're an American traveling in France, be aware that your cards might not work everywhere. This is the second time since September that I've run into this situation — the first time was in a restaurant. We ended up having to pay cash.
Already, self-service gas pumps in France, for example, make no provision for U.S.-style chipless cards. Nor do toll booths on the autoroutes, as far as I know. If you are driving a rental car in France, you have to be careful not to let your tank go empty in the evening or on Sunday afternoon, when all the gas stations are self-service only, with no attendant on duty. When there's an attendant, you can usually pay with an American chipless card, but that might be changing now.
Sometimes — and I might say "often" — even businesses that do have machines capable of reading the magnetic stripe on your U.S. card (which doesn't have a computer chip on it the way cards issued by French banks do) can be a problem. Store clerks and waiters in restaurants are often just convinced that the cards won't work, and they are incapable of making them work. Sometimes I resort to asking if I can slide the card myself, and that almost invariably works fine. It's as if you have to have the right attitude and technique to get the U.S.-style cards to work.
It's always an adventure.