The French branch of US fast food giant McDonald's said on Tuesday it was to introduce a "McBaguette" sandwich in a bid to cater to local tastes.

"/> The French branch of US fast food giant McDonald's said on Tuesday it was to introduce a "McBaguette" sandwich in a bid to cater to local tastes.

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OFFBEAT

McDonald’s tempts French with ‘McBaguette’

The French branch of US fast food giant McDonald's said on Tuesday it was to introduce a "McBaguette" sandwich in a bid to cater to local tastes.

McDonald's tempts French with 'McBaguette'

Often derided in food-mad France for its mass-production approach, thechain has worked to adapt with sandwiches featuring local ingredients such as goat’s cheese and pepper sauce, alongside its traditional burgers and chips.

The McBaguette will be launched as a test product on April 18th for six weeks in the chain’s 1,230 French restaurants, Nawfal Trabelsi, McDonald’s France’s vice president for marketing, told journalists.

“It’s a crispy baguette, served hot, with beef, a slightly strong whole grain mustard sauce and ripe Emmental cheese,” Trabelsi said, adding that the product was of “symbolic importance” and part of the company’s efforts at local “integration”.

After long resisting the lure of fast food, French consumers have increasingly turned to chain restaurants in recent years, with the fast food market growing from about €20 billion ($26 billion) in 2004 to nearly €33 billion last year.

McDonald’s has done particularly well, growing to 63,000 employees since opening its first French branch in 1979 and with pre-tax turnover last year of €4.2 billion.

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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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