By Avril Charlton in France
So, you move out of the city, the pace of life is slower, the scenery changes and the people smile a whole lot more…
Now like many Brits you decide not only to move to France but to move to the country. A different way of life, French food in abundance, slow glasses of ruby red wine and over 300 cheeses to choose from.
Well that was yesterday…
Today in the paper, McDonald’s or McDo’s as the French call it, is coming to Ruffec. Coming to my local town in fact and bringing hamburgers and BigMacs for all.
What excitement a McDo’s will bring.
I was at the local market the other day; it was a cold one and I’d been into the traders’ tent for coffee but then, diet once again forgotten, went back for a ‘barquette des frites’ as advertised on the counter. “I don’t suppose you started cooking them yet have you?” I asked as it was only around 11am. “No, I don’t do them” he replied “But your sign?” “My chips aren’t wanted here, this is the country, most people grow their own potatoes…!”
So, does this mean that since this is a farming area and most farmers have cows or chickens that they’re not going to want a hamburger or Chicken Mcnuggets as they grow their own? Hmm.,,,
However, deep in the countryside as we may be, McDonalds’ and food chains like it do serve a purpose. The one thing people find most hard to get used to here in France are opening hours. Shops generally open from 9 – 12 and then again from 2 – 6. If you’re shopping between those times, you are out of luck. You’re also out of luck if your metabolism runs at a different rate to that of the French people. They have a very regimented eating schedule and lunch is between 12 – 2pm. If you foolishly weren’t hungry at lunchtime and did not stop for that 2hr break then you have no option but to tighten your belt and soldier on till dinner.
Not anymore though, McDo’s is coming to town and there’ll be something for everyone no matter what the time……
Of course there are those who aren’t as keen on the arrival of the chain restaurant with its golden gates. Local restaurant owners for example it has to be said aren’t jumping up and down for joy. To be honest I don’t think they have much to worry about. Faced with the choice of a BigMac & fries for around 6€ or a 3-course lunch of an assiette de crudités, followed by cassoulet de porc and then a perfect ile flottant with half a bottle of wine for 11,50€, I know which one I’d rather have.
One thing I will be happy about though is getting a coffee to take-away. Early morning meetings with clients can only be enhanced by a large steaming cup of hot coffee…. And after the meeting? Well what can I say? “one bacon, egg & cheese bagel to go please”
By Avril Charlton