“You know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in Paris? … They call it a Royale with Cheese.” –Pulp Fiction
I have never been a fast food junkie. I don’t crave it, and (except for rare Arby’s sightings) the impossible-to-ignore signs and colors do not even evoke a second glance. I was convinced that I would not even care to try McDonald’s in France.
Then around week four of being here, I had a fat American craving. I wanted a hamburger. I wanted a fountain coke. I wanted fries. I needed MacDo.
For my first visit to MacDo in France, I kept it simple with a double cheeseburger. It hit the spot, fulfilled my craving, and I returned to my usual ratatouille and Provencal cuisine.
After a few more weeks of quoting Pulp Fiction, I finally decided it would be absurd to return to the states without ordering a royale with cheese. So I did. And you can bet your socks I supersized that meal! «Maxi Menu Best Of: Royale with Cheese, des grands frites, un grand coca et sauce barbeque, s’il vous plait! » I ordered with an all-American grin.
The half-French, half-English menu really stood out to me. If they are going to change the name of a quarter-pounder, but say “royale,” a French word, why not add “au fromage” instead of “with cheese?” As for Maxi Menu, that is French, but Best Of is not a trademarked McDonald’s term, nor is it commonly known on the American menus (where we use dollar menu or supersized), so why not have that in French, too?
The thing that really got me was the McFlurry. In the United States, a McFlurry is well mixed. Hence the name, right? It was flurried by Mc. In France, though, the McFlurry’s are simply a cup of ice cream with some toppings. As if that isn’t silly enough, MacDo then demands that we “flurry it yourself.” Not only is MacDo asking us to do the work, but it is a solely French McFlurry problem, and the phrase is written in English instead of French. In the end, I suppose McDonald’s is just an American trademark and having some parts in English make it authentic and cool.
In case there were any doubts, my meal was every bit wonderful. In fact, the meat and soda are better here than in the States—fresher, less questionable (though I believe McDonald’s has made great strides in improving their menu lately). It’s comforting to know I can go just about anywhere in the world and when a hamburger craving kicks in, I can find a slice of good ‘ole America at MacDo. C’est tout ce que j’aime.