The battle to keep McDonald's out of an historic neighbourhood in the centre of Paris shows that while the French have a well-known appetite for fast food and especially burgers, they do have their limits.
McDonald’s application to build a three-story restaurant in the heart of Rue Montorgueil area in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, has been rejected three times by city authorities but the fast food giant won’t go away.
This week the Paris city council sent a clear message to the burger giant to say they would do “everything possible” to keep them out of their neighbourhood.
Green party councillor and mayor of the 2nd arrondissement Jacques Boutault has led the long-running campaign against McDonald’s, backed by local residents and schools.
On Wednesday he persuaded the council to adopt a motion aimed at keeping the burger giant out once and for all.
Councillors demand that “everything that is legally possible be put in place to avoid the installation of a McDonald’s on the corner of Rue Reaumur and Rue des Petits-Carreaux.”
Boutault has spelled out what he believes are the dangers of allowing McDonald’s to open their 160-seater restaurant.
“With the addition of a restaurant of this size, all the work that has been done in the area around the quality of food and protecting traditional independent stores would collapse like a pack of cards,” he said.
McDonalds on Rue Montorgueil – no thank you. https://t.co/uOOOVSWSfh
— Lou Binns (@LouLou_in_Paris) July 3, 2015
His long-running campaign has been backed by local traders who fear a rise in rent prices and residents who are concerned about another fast food restaurant setting up in the neighbourhood, especially given the fact there are six schools within 300 metres of the proposed outlet.
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 is too much for locals.
In May residents held a demonstration in the area under the banner “No McDo in Montorgueil”.
Paris councillors want MPs in parliament to create a new law that would ban the opening of any fast food restaurant within a certain distance of any schools.
The French are not always opposed to McDonald's.
The campaign in Paris is in stark contrast to that which took place in the northern town of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise last year where locals demanded a new McDonald's.