Parisians fight back against McDonald's

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Dan MacGuill - [email protected]
Parisians fight back against McDonald's

Residents of a Paris street famous for its old world charm, have been celebrating since local authorities rejected a plan to install a new McDonald’s restaurant in their midst, in a sign that while the French have taken to US fast food, they have their limits.


The McDonald’s application to build a three-storey restaurant on Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, was rejected by city authorities after fierce protests by hundreds of residents on Sunday, local representative Jacques Boutault announced in a statement.

“Jacques Boutault, mayor of the 2nd arrondissement, along with Green party officials, is delighted that the city of Paris has confirmed its unfavourable ruling regarding the installation of a McDonald’s on rue Montorgueil,” read the statement.

“This rejection is in keeping with the mobilisation of citizens, parents of schoolchildren, and residents, who opposed this project from the beginning,” he added.

McDonald’s would appear to have messed with the wrong neighbourhood, with locals fiercely protective of the pedestrianized Rue Montorgueil.

The street is beloved as a haven for those who wish to take their time perusing little cafés, cheesemongers and wine shops, with the huge, American-style shopping mall at Les Halles just minutes away.

The US fast food giant had planned to set up a location, open from 7.30am to 11pm, seven days a week, at the intersection of Rue Réamur and Rue des Petits-Carreaux, which continues south as Rue Montorgeuil.

The collective “Pas de McDo à Montorgueil" emerged in response, however, garnering over 400 signatures for its rejection of "the spread of soulless chains in the Montorgueil neighbourhood, and in historic Paris at large.”

Rue Montorgeuil is already home to a branch of Belgian burger chain Quick, and US coffee giant Starbucks, but the prospect of those imposing golden arches right at the entrance to the pedestrianized street, was evidently a bridge too far for local residents.

The beloved, pedestrianized Rue Montorgueil, by night. Photo: Sharat Ganapati

Main rival Burger King, on the other hand, seem to be having it all “their way” in France of late, as the slogan goes.

The chain gave lovers of Le Whopper an early Christmas present during the summer, when they announced it would be returning to the French capital this December, after 15 years away.

And just last week, The Local reported that Burger King had unveiled a plan to take a seriously big bite out of France’s growing fast food market, with up to 400 new restaurants in the pipeline across the country.

SEE ALSO: Fast food dethrones traditional French cuisine

Despite France’s world-famous culinary traditions, US-style fast food has taken over in cities across the country, especially among young people.

Indeed, a report earlier this year revealed that, for the first time, sales of hamburgers, pizzas and other fast food had surpassed those of traditional, sit-down restaurant meals.

“In the land of gastronomy, fast food has become the king,” wrote French magazine Le Point at the time.

The successful rejection of a McDonald’s on Rue Montorgueil, however, suggests otherwise. 



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