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'French mock US culture but can't get enough of it'

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'French mock US culture but can't get enough of it'
Starbucks is expanding in France, but not everyone is happy.Photo: AFP
15:05 CEST+02:00
The one story that has struck a nerve with readers this week is the upcoming invasion of US coffee giant into French supermarkets. While many of you were left spitting into your café allongé, others welcomed the presence of another American chain.

The recent announcement of a deal between US coffee behemoth Starbucks and France's upmarket supermarket chain Monoprix is the one story this week that has got readers talking.

The agreement will see two Starbucks outlets open in Monoprix supermarkets by the end of the end of the year with more, although it's unsure exactly how many will follow in the future.

The news has been hard to swallow for many fans of the traditional café scene in France.

“What a disgrace. Indie Coffee shops are what made Paris special, now this. It's like roaches breeding,” said Laura Garfield.

Michelle Dailey questioned how the two different cultures fit together?

“Forgive me if I am incorrect, but isn't coffee in France coupled with people watching and relaxation in the cafes, not drinking on the run as it is in the states?,” she said.

Some readers however accused the French of hypocrisy and pointed out that Starbucks could follow in the footsteps of American fast food giants McDonald's and Burger King and win the French over.

“The French mock American culture, yet are obsessed with it and can't get enough of it when it arrives within their border. Apparently the one Burger King by Montparnasse is the place to be. It's sad, but it's the case,” said Shane Matlock.

Jan Riordan added: “Saw Starbucks latte in supermarket in Carcassonne .. ready to heat. Ugghh!! This is so unfrench ... but young people are attracted by brand names.”

Others simply concentrated on the quality of coffee on offer at Starbucks, or the amount of calories it contained, neither of which they found positive.

“If I want all those calories, I'll visit a patisserie. Quite happy with French coffee as it is,” said David Rider.

“I can't believe that Starbucks would find a place in France, their coffee is disgusting - but then most American coffee is,” said Melissa van de Linden.

However many readers were supportive of the much-criticised chain, pointing out that Starbucks cafes provide a welcome alternative to Paris's traditional brasserie cafés and not just for Americans.

“Starbucks is doing well in France because it is a different offering,” said Micheal Barratt. “Traditional cafés are not competitors. The decor is more warm and welcoming with couches, there is wifi, large drink sizes and variety. It's also viewed as trendy. Any Starbucks in France has a lot of French people for a reason.”

Brian Dear added: “It's an oasis in a sea of intimidation. You know you can go there and achieve a consistent, soothing experience.”

Dear also hit back at those who suggested drinking at Starbucks was an affront to French culture.

“France isn't a movie here for our repeat enjoyment. It's a living thing entitled to hang out at Burger King or Starbucks if it damn well pleases,” he said.

Each week we'll promote your views by choosing a story that has spiked reader interest, so feel free to leave a comment under the article, on our Facebook page or in a tweet.

If you want to write an opinion piece about France then email news.france@thelocal.com to pitch an idea.

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