Some thoughts about things American you find here.
In France, as in most other countries, you don’t see a whole lot of things that are American. Imagine four weeks without People Magazine! (Yay!) But American stuff is around if you’re noticing. Coca-Cola is everywhere. (Yay!) As a matter of fact, the first Coke I had here was at a restaurant we were at on our first night. The price for an 8 oz glass (with ice)? 4.50 Euros, or about $5.00 American. Six-packs in cans are available in grocery stores, so my addiction can be fed while here in Paris. (Yay!). My brother, who is a wine connoisseur of the first order, would be appalled at this, but Rick, if you read this, know that we had one wine and cheese dinner arranged for us at the Rue Cler Formagerie, and I hope we have more before we leave! I promise. I know I have so much to learn about great wines everywhere.
Pizza Hut seems to have quite a presence here. There’s one just around the corner from us. It’s not a restaurant, but rather a delivery service. Deliveries are done on bikes, not cars, and the delivery guys all have little heating boxes on the rear of their bikes to carry the product to homes that order them. We also saw a full-blown Pizza Hut Restaurant in the Les Halles area (near Saint-Eustache). And today, on my way over to get museum passes, I passed a similar Domino’s Pizza place. (And no, we haven’t ordered any. Hate the stuff even in the states!) What is kind of low level junk food for us is apparently something of a delicacy for some of our French friends. I’m sure we do that with some of their so-so offerings that make it to the states.
There are many Starbucks shops in Paris, though not as many as you see in the states. The one two corners from us gets a lot of traffic. I was coming from the Rue Cler Market with fresh stuff one morning around 9 when I saw a long line of people going out of the store. Must be the same type of going-to-work rush hour crowd we see everywhere in the states.
McDonalds is present here, though nothing close to the frequency you find in the US. And get this! We heard on Al Jazeera English News last night, that Burger King is breaking into the French market with a string of stores in major cities throughout the country. (Interestingly, this may not be an unwise move for this company since one sees hamburgers on the menus of most bistros and cafes. Big, expensive, juicy burgers. (And yes, we’ve had a few of those)). And just yesterday, we saw a sign (in French, of course) for Subway sandwich stores.
In an earlier post, I mentioned all the retail outlets on the Champs-Élysées, which included (if memory serves) Tommy Hilfiger, The Gap, Levi Strauss, Nike, and maybe ten other commercial brands.
So we’re really not on the lookout for this, but it just kind of appears in our walking around. If I see more, believe me, I won’t create another blog post to add to this one! I guess I’m just glad we’re in a country that’s fairly free of US brands. Somehow a nice change of pace.