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McDon’t, s’il vous plaît

115057_50571I remember when I was in Egypt a few years ago, I was gob-smacked when I saw a McDonald’s in spitting distance of the Pyramids. So when I read on BBC online that the fast food chain will be hawking their burgers bang in the middle of the Louvre; I certainly raised an eyebrow.

What was more shocking was the lack of reaction by the French to the new ‘McDo’. Museum staff are reportedly discontented with the decision but I would have expected une mass outragé at the thought of Ronald McDonald sharing quarters with the Mona Lisa. After all, this is the Mecca of high art and the world’s most visited museum; at least some fainting or something.

Then I discovered that France has become McDonald’s biggest market in the world outside of the US with the opening of 30 new outlets last year in the country.

Why is McDonald’s so popular in the land of haute cuisine and what do you think of this latest move by the chain?


  1. Honestly, I think there is a rather distorted view of the French and that’s not helped by the media. Not every one of my compatriots is rake thin and neither can we all rustle up a gorgeous meal without breaking sweat and choose the perfect wine to go with it. But I admit I’m surprised that France is McDonald’s biggest market outside the US. There are so many other options if you want to eat out, even if you’re on a budget. I guess many of us like their food bland!

  2. It’s several years since I have been to Paris but I remember clearly being quite taken aback by the sheer number of McDonald’s outlets in that city. I also remember thinking it might have something to do with gastronomically unadventurous hordes of tourists…?

  3. I’m outraged. I’m actually fuming. I lived in Paris for 6 years and spent two years pratically living in the Louvres for my studies. Such a beautiful piece of architecture. Such a wonderful space with flowing lights. A few years ago, after many marches and political blackmailing, the government had agreed to “clean up the Champs Elysées” and give Paris back to the lovers of good food. That never happened.
    Now, I agree with Nath, many French people eat crap, it’s a cliché that everyone has a love affair with food

  4. According to that BBC article France isn’t the second biggest market outside the US rather the second most profitable, probably due to the fact that customers in France spend the most per visit. – “France is the company’s second-most profitable market after the United States”. Its worth reading the full BBC article for the full version of the story. McDonald’s is opening an underground mall at the entrance to the Louvre, that already has other fast food outlets. Interesting the way McDonalds has publicised how much food it buys from French farmers to stress its roots in France- Tescos have been running a similar campaign here over the last few years.

  5. Its the tourists. When McDonalds finally opened in Disneyland Paris 1999 it was after 7 years of guests asking where McDonalds was! Walt Disney didnt like Crocs’ company and refused him permission to open in his parks, but times change, and money talks. I know people who go abroad on holidays, and eat in McDonalds at least three times during their week away. Its sad.

  6. “Tescos have been running a similar campaign here over the last few years.” While charging us 30% more than the north for it.

  7. I love McDonald’s although I restrict myself to only having it on the way home from festivals. I think the Louvre could do without it though, surely tourists can walk around the corner if they need a burger.

  8. My aunt goes on holidays to lovely places and heads straight to McDonald’s for dinner. Some people don’t want to try new things, although I think they shouldn’t be allowed get on the plane.

  9. I think of a holiday as a chance to really treat myself. And I think of McDonald’s as a MAJAH treat so I’m all for McDonald’s on your holidays. Unfortunately I don’t eat meat and mostly go to ridiculously remote places when I travel so that rules me out. Still, am jealous of those who do indulge themselves. Just not in the Louvre like.

  10. Is it true French McDonald’s are allowed to sell alcohol/beer? It might explain a bit their popularity over there…

  11. Yes Liana they sell beer in McD in France, but its the same in most European countries. I think lazyness on holidays accounts for their popularity. I treat myself on holidays in Paris too, by eating as much French food as I can!

    On the flip side though, I think its stereotyping to expect the French, as bastions of gourmet food, to rail against fast food establishments eg Starbucks, McDs, Quick Burger. Its like Americans arriving here and expecting Peig to greet them in Shannon.