McDonald’s opens on French island after five-year legal battle

McDonald's opens on French island after five-year legal battle
The idyllic Île d'Oléron had - until now - no McDonald's. Photo: AFP
It was the end of a five-year legal battle involving the regional authorities and the court of appeal, but on Thursday a McDonald's opened on a small island off the coast of France.

The opening marked the first ever presence of US fast food giant McDonald's on the Île d'Oléron, a small island just off La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime.

The island is popular with holidaymakers and second home owners, although it is not as exclusive as the nearby Île de Ré, and has recently been the site of another high profile legal battle in the French court – when Maurice the noisy cockerel was pitted against his neighbours.

READ ALSO How Maurice the noisy cockerel exposed France's urban and rural divide


The McDonald's in the town of Dolus-d'Oléron opened its doors with little fanfare, and under the eye of several security guards, on December 26th to give local people their Big Mac fix.

The fast food outlet has been vigorously opposed by the local mayor, former Greenpeace activist Grégory Gendre, who had blocked building permits for the restaurant.

He said he had safety concerns about access to the site and the risk of flooding.

After a five-year legal battle involving both the regional tribunal in Poitiers and the appeal court in Bordeaux, McDonald's was finally granted planning permission.

But that may not be the end of the story, as the local town hall has lodged an appeal, particularly over parking and access concerns in the summer, when the population of the island increases fivefold as the holidaymakers arrive.

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