What Makes McDonald's France So Different From McDonald's America

You may have heard the old saying: "if you've been to one, you've been to them all." That same concept can apply to McDonald's. No matter where you go, be the McDonald's down the block or across the country, you'll know exactly what to expect. Sure, there's obviously a different layout and different people, but you can still get a Quarter Pounder in California, a box of McNuggets in Wisconsin, and that weirdly "crisp"-tasting McDonald's Sprite in New York. If you're a traveler to a place you've never been before, there's something about seeing those Golden Arches that makes McDonald's a beacon of stability in an unknown world.

Of course, this isn't to say every McDonald's across the world is the exact same. It's not too uncommon for McDonald's to "adapt" to better cater to the location they are in, which results in varied changes to everything from customer service, menu items, and even the style of the location itself. For example, if you were to go into a McDonalds in Europe, such as Belgium or Germany, you could buy a McBeer to wash down your Big Mac and fries (via The Travel). In places like New Zealand and Budapest, you can find those trademark Golden Arches inside of a decommissioned plane to a refurbished train station (via Business Insider).

In France, however, your trip to Mickey Dee's may be a little more high-class than you were expecting.

McDonald's in France have wine and table service

When you think of French cuisine, you're probably thinking more along the lines of cheese and wine than anything resembling fast food. While this is a fair assumption, you'd be surprised to learn that McDonald's in France are designed more around the food and the atmosphere than Playlands or drive-thru's. 

As NPR reports, French McDonald's are "spacious" and "tastefully decorated", offering a wide array of French-influenced meals such as Alpine Burgers, King's Cakes, and of course, the McBaguette. Pamela Engel of Business Insider would elaborate on the relatively "fancy" business model of France's fast food restaurant, from drinks served in glass cups, to blue cheese-topped burgers, to sophisticated ordering kiosks. Frenchly describes customers sitting in cozy McCafe's and glass-partitioned tables, eating everything from French cheeses, wine, beer, macarons, and yes, burgers and fries.

But as with all cross-cultural relationships, McDonald's in France are viewed rather differently depending on who you ask. The Culture Trip describes a "love-hate" relationship between the Ronald McDonald and the French. Strangely, the French are stated to love McDonalds (second only to us in the USA, of course), yet protests break out whenever a new McDonald's location is announced. The reason for these protests is out of the concern that homogenized fast food would hurt French culture and the relatively poor quality of the food compared to "true French cuisine."

While it certainly isn't on par with the masters of French cuisine, McDonald's seems to be there to stay.