Sometimes, while living abroad, you’re just in the mood for something familiar, something quick and easy.  While McDonald’s is not my favorite place to eat, sometimes I’m just in the mood for a burger, fries and a coke.  That is why I decided to splurge while shopping recently at Les Halles, the biggest mall in Paris, and spend about $8 on a small* meal.

*Europeans do not have the same concept of sizes, though, and my small meal was really a regular-sized burger, medium fries, and small drink.  Even though I ordered a medium, in France, their medium size is equal to (or less than) a size small in the USA.

The French people really like McDonald’s, or McDo (pronounced “mac-doh”), as they fondly call it.  This one was insanely busy, and I was instantly glad I don’t have to work in a place like that.  The lines were also ridiculously long.  But there was one thing that set this McDonald’s apart from the other ones I have experienced in my life: a credit/debit card station, for those paying with electronic cash.

How futuristic!  I stood there in the middle of McDo and punched in my order on the touch screen, typed in my PIN, and grabbed my receipt.  Then all I had to do was stand in a [shorter] line and wait for my order to come out.  It was MUCH faster than if I had stood in one of the cash lines!

I haven’t seen this in the States yet.  Have you?  If not, perhaps this is one of the ways in which French people have made McDonald’s their own.  There are all sorts of French-inspired burgers and sandwiches there.  They also have “high-quality” café products, as well as macaroons.  (I put it in quotations only because I haven’t tasted them myself, and therefore cannot properly judge, but they’re supposed to be café-quality.)

This special sandwich looks nothing like you stateside people have seen on a McDonald’s menu, does it?  The “little mustard” sandwich, with special old-fashioned mustard and a harder, baguette-like bread instead of a bun.  :)

But as for me, I’ll stick with the traditional menu as much as possible, and leave the French-style stuff to the real French restaurants.


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