Le Big Mac

Imagine – ordering le petit déjeuner at the McDonald’s inside Lourve.
Honestly, I thought it was only a matter of time.

[Sept. 2004: Next to the Chatelet metro station, on the way to Norte Dame]

I thought this BBC article summed up the international foodie reaction to the news of a new McD’s inside an iconic French institution.

And if fingers are to be pointed, surely the greatest blame for the success of fast-food attaches to French cooking itself, for failing to provide any home-grown alternative. – Hugh Schofield, BBC

During the French portion of our Eurotrip, we avoided most American chains. In Paris, I ordered a latte from a Starbucks. As a former barista, I wanted to know if there was any difference in the French version of this espresso drink. Nope. No difference. I was also dazzled that it offered fresh squeezed orange juice from a huge, menacing, orange-squeezing contraption.

We turned up our noses at this McD’s chain near Norte Dame. However – I also noticed it was a busy store. There were plenty of French-speaking customers buzzing in front of the cash registers.

In London, the McCafe became our after-Mass coffee spot. It had cheap prices for decent coffee and pastries. Since we were living on American dollars, that helped us deal with the almighty British pound. The foreign exchange rate was deadly for any budget and Wells Fargo had not problem hitting up my account with additional exchange rate fees.

Ultimately, spots like the McCafe helped us save money for other amazing British day trips: Stonehenge, Bath and beyond.