McDonald’s. There. I said it. Fellow fitness-minded readers, hold on a second before you stop reading. What comes to mind when you think of everyone’s favorite fast food place? Calorie-laden meals packed full of preservatives that are consumed only by the non-health conscious among us? Maybe. In the U.S., McDonald’s was pretty much last on my list of places to eat and I don’t think I’ve set foot in one for anything more than the restroom and a cup of coffee in over 10 years. Then I moved to France…
Why is McDonald’s in France better? Are French McDonald’s like the ones in the US and what’s the McDonald’s menu in France like?
McDonald’s in France
Does France have McDonald’s and is it popular?
First, does France have McDonald’s? OUI! The first restaurant opened in the Paris suburbs in 1972 and is very popular with the French. There are 1,485 McDonald’s restaurants in France, generating the second highest revenue worldwide (only after the U.S).
McDonald’s in France is popular because of the reasons I discuss below but also because it was the first fast food chain restaurant on the scene in the 1970’s and they’ve only gained steam since.
McDonald’s was one of the first to have a drive-through concept and they were convenient. Many non-fast food places are closed after regular dinnertime (especially years ago) and on Sunday nights. McDonald’s was the only place that was open where you could get something to eat.
McDonald’s in France, affectionately called McDo (mac-dough), is infinitely cooler than it is in the U.S. for a bunch of reasons.
A drive-thru line that extends to outside the parking lot on a weeknight is actually pretty common. Totally crazy, but not shocking for a French person. No, they’re not giving away free Big Macs. French people love it though!
Here’s my list why McDonald’s in France is better than American McDonald’s:
They know what customer service is. Service with a smile must be a prerequisite for all employees of McDo in France. Not only do they pleasantly take your order but after the fact, they say merci, bonne journée, au revoir, bon dimanche, merci. Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little, but they do say thank you and have a nice day.
You can order at the kiosks via a touchscreen or in person at the counter. You take a number and if you’re eating at the restaurant, an employee will bring you your tray when it’s ready.
Sure beats standing around waiting at the counter, right?
They’re efficient. On a Friday night, if you go through the McDrive (drive through), brightly uniformed employees (yes plural) take your order on a little computer thing so you bypass the window for ordering entirely. Kind of like Chick-Fil-A in the U.S.
They take your money and then hand deliver your bag of food. If you order inside, there are these machines called bornes (kiosks) that you can order from if you don’t want to wait in line to order at the counter.
High-fructose corn syrup isn’t commonplace. If you peruse the list of ingredients on the little ketchup packets, you’ll see that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t among what’s listed there. While it’s not completely banned in France, it’s not found in soda, ketchup and other items you’d commonly find it in over in the U.S. Makes you feel healthier already, right? (America, take note on how to make ketchup w/o the dreaded HFCS.)
They’re clean. Never once have I seen a dirty McDonald’s in France bathroom or restaurant in general. Amen for cleanliness. Also, many French McDonald’s in big cities have keypads on the bathroom doors and only customers (who have the code on their receipt) are permitted to use the restroom.
They have McCafe’s full of yummy goodies. The McCafe, a separate area in the interior of the McDonald’s specializing in your coffee shop fare, is one of the only places in small-town France you can get coffee in a cup with a lid to go.
Sure, their biggest size is smaller than a Tall at Starbucks, but hey, you have to take what you can get. Tom and I probably go to the McCafe once a week for a cup to go. They also have all kinds of baked goods including cheap macarons, mini cheesecakes and other temptations that will send your diet into a tailspin.
They’re more upscale and modern. The interiors are all new and have a clean, modern design. Wooden chairs and decor give a warmer vibe than vinyl and plastic booths. Tables and booths look nothing like the ones at McDonald’s when I was a kid. You’ll also find free WiFi.
Oh, did I mention that every now and again, there’s a limited time McBaguette that is either chicken or beef? Only in France would you find something like that and that’s by design. McDonald’s adapts their menu to the local market. Beer is part of the drink offerings, too.
McDonald’s in France menu
Let’s start with a look at the McCafe menu. There’s a small selection of muffins, donuts, macarons, and more — as well as coffee.
Here’s the regular McDonald’s in France menu for lunch and dinner:
So is McDonald’s in France worth a look? Absolutely worth it once in a while! The French love it and when in Rome and all… 😉
Tell me, have you been to a McDonald’s in France? What did you think?