Why this weekend might be a good time to fill up your car in France

Ahead of the busiest weekend of the year on the French roads, some supermarket chains are offering discounts on fuel.

Why this weekend might be a good time to fill up your car in France
A client fills her car with gas at a petrol station in Ciboure, southwestern France (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP)

The chassé-croisé is upon us. It is the weekend when vacationers heading off to enjoy their holidays in August share the roads with those coming home from their July trips. This year, like years previous, there will be heavy traffic on French motorways, particularly on Saturday.

Luckily, there are a few options for drivers to save on fuel amid the long traffic jams – or simply take the chance to fill up locally if you’re not planning on travelling.

Fuel prices remain very high and France – and would be even higher without the government’s 18c per litre discount – on Tuesday average prices stood at €1.93 a litre for diesel, €1.91 for unleaded (SP95) and €1.85 for E10.

The grocery store chain E. Leclerc will be foregoing some profits this weekend by offering its fuel “at cost.” The discount will be available for customers at all Leclerc filling stations – of which there are about 600 –  from Thursday July 28th until Saturday July 30th. Keep in mind the discount will no longer be in effect on Sunday, July 31st.

READ MORE: French Expression of the Day: Chassé-croisé

The offer is intended to help consumers counter rising cost of living and inflation, particularly on one of the biggest driving weekends of the year. 

In terms of savings, motorists should not get too excited, however. A litre of fuel might be around €0.02 to €0.10 cheaper at participating stations.

You can find a station near you HERE

READ MORE: MAP: Where to find the cheapest fuel in France

The discount plan for consumers comes as France’s parliament debates the current fuel rebate, which could be increased from €0.18 to €0.30 per litre of gasoline from September 1st.

Head of E. Leclerc, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, has also announced that this may be the final ‘at-cost’ operation, arguing that such operations will no longer be possible when the new climate law takes effect on August 22nd. The law will regulate advertising related to the environment, including a ban on the advertising of fossil fuels. 

Leclerc is not the only supermarket chain to offer fuel discounts. The Casino group will continue offering its discount until the end of August. As it stands, consumers can benefit from from a voucher card after spending €120 at the Casino store. The voucher can be picked up at the reception desk of any participating Casino store, and allows customers to get one litre of fuel at the price of €0.85. 

The TotalEnergies group has also announced they will apply a fuel discount of €0.20 starting in September.

If you are looking to save on fuel, you can also use this map to avoid soaring prices.

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French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Unions representing cabin crew on several airlines have threatened to take strike action over the Christmas holidays in a series of increasingly bitter pay disputes.

French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Cabin crew for Air France have already outlined dates for possible strike days, while unions representing staff at Easyjet and Ryanair are threatening “massive disruption” unless their demands are met.

The SNPNC-FO union, which represents cabin crew working in France, is calling for pay increases for its members working for budget airline Easyjet, warning that if no agreement is reached there will be a “very high risk” of walk-outs over Christmas.

Strikes, prices and services – what you need to know about travel over Christmas 2022

No exact dates have been proposed yet, but the union says that the current pay offer does not cover the rising cost of living, adding “the management will be responsible for the disruptions suffered by our customers”.

Cabin crew at Air France have filed a provisional strike notice from December 22nd to January 2nd, although whether staff actually walk out depends on how the pay negotiations go.

“This notice should serve as a warning to our management,” explains a union leaflet. “If this warning is not heeded, only a strong mobilisation will be able to tip the balance.”

So far the only confirmed strike action is at Air Antilles and Air Guyane – which mostly run flights between France and the Caribbean and French Guyana. Their staff will be walking out between December 17th and December 22nd, unless there is a breakthrough in pay negotiations. 

Ryanair crew working in Belgium have also threatened strike action over Christmas, although so far their French colleagues have not revealed any strike plans. 

Things look better for rail and ferry travel, with no strikes currently planned – although anyone with a trip to the UK planned should be aware of strike days planned by British rail staff over the Christmas and New Year period.

French airport ground staff and air traffic controllers won themselves a pay rise after strike action over the summer holidays. 

You can find all the latest strike information for France on our strikes page HERE.