Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Other Americans in Paris

I hear tell that McDonald's has started selling lattes in an effort to beat Starbucks at its own game. I don't know if this is just a U.S. gambit but both of these chains are ubiquitous in Paris. There is a Starbucks just around the corner from us and McDonald's (or McDo -- pronounced with a long o -- as it is called here)is only a few steps further down the street. The French may curse globalization but both of these joints are busy at all hours and trust me, it's not the Americans who are keeping them in business. (Maybe it's the free wifi?) The two chains seem to have different strategies. The menu at McDo looks pretty familiar complete with le Big and Tasty and le Big Mac. (Can you sing “deux steaks hachés, une sauce inimitable, deux lits de salade, au cheddar fondu…”?) And while Starbucks is plying the same coffee drinks as it does in the States, the snacks are French. Actually it is about the only place around where you can get a coffee to go, and it's also pretty much the only place that sells a cup of coffee that's not doll-sized. Honestly though, I'm saving my centimes for the local fare. There'll be more than enough time for the quarter pounders and tall coffee lattes when we return home.

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