The Paris-based Louvre is a symbol of French culture and one of the world’s most beloved art museums.
It houses works like Monet’s Water Lilies, Eugene DelaCroix’s Liberty Leading the People (a.k.a. Coldplay’s Viva la Vida album cover), DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and now, McDonald’s McCafe.
Yes, that’s right. The golden arches will become a part of the Louvre, in the upscale shopping mall beneath its glowing pyramid (please see image below).
So – how did “Mc Do” (mack-DOH), as the French call it, earn a spot in the same building as these aforementioned masterpieces? No one is quite certain, but its placement will coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the first-ever McDonald’s Restaurant (can we even call it that?) in France.
In an article from knoxnews.com, “Walt Ricker, a vice president of media relations for McDonald’s says the French McDonald’s chain is ‘thoroughly French.’ According to him, the company has ‘not adopted, but adapted to matchup with the French culture.’ For instance, most French diners do not eat their burgers with ketchup.”
Really? Is that what makes the McDonald’s chains in France “thoroughly French?” The fact that French customers don’t use ketchup with their burgers? What about with their fries?
Michael Steinberger, author of a book about the decline of French food, attempted to answer this question. He tells knoxnews.com that the French have made the restaurant chain their own because, “They came, they ate, they lingered.”
Although I remember grabbing an après-swim McDonald’s cheeseburger during my elementary school summers with friends and family — and taking the time to enjoy it — the tradition of spending hours at the table is definitely European. We Americans typically tend to get in, get out and get on with our lives.
On NPR, Didier Rykner, chief editor of the French art journal The Art Tribune is one critic to those who profess that this Louvre-McDonald’s is going to be high class.
“They say, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a very high-level McDonald’s,'” Rykner says, laughing. “I don’t know what is a ‘high-level McDonald’s!’…Rykner says it is not McDonald’s fault. He blames the Louvre for selling out to commercialism and mass marketing.”
France’s Le Post highlighted the responses of one sarcastic French Twitterer:
“Un Mc Do au Louvre? Ouais, pourquoi pas. Et metton un KFC à la chapelle Sixtine ou un Pizza Hut au National Gallery. Ridicule.” (@aisfornala)
Translation: “A McDonald’s at the Louvre? Yeah, why not. And let’s put a KFC at the Sistine Chapel or a Pizza Hut at the National Gallery. Ridiculous.” (@aisfornala)
And, in an even more satirical manner, one blogger on The Spoof comments on the Mona-Ronald portrait above: “Of course, some may be surprised by the portrait appearing, but this is part of a new neoclassical-subbaroque postmodernist antediluvian preGothic form of oil painting. It follows in the tradition of Monet, Manet, Minnie Mouse and Homer Fils de Simp, and Ronald makes us face a classic world-weariness in juxtoposition with an all-pervading struggle with Nature, and with man’s struggle to open the ketchup bottle.”
Well, if you’re Frenchman or woman at a Mc Do, apparently you won’t have the ketchup bottle struggle.