When I tell my grown-up children that we regularly go for coffee in McDonald’s, their reaction is as if I was recounting a visit to a Wimpy Bar! Their image of McDonald’s is of a ‘60’s fast-food place with sticky fake gingham wipe-clean tablecloths, chewing gum on the floor and dirty cups on adjacent tables. Anyone who has been to a French ‘McDo’ is always pleasantly surprised. There is free internet access, screens where you can tap in your order and pay, so that the dishes are ready and awaiting collection. Each branch has been completely renovated to include a barista and a coffee machine that serves, lattes and cappuccinos from freshly ground beans. Do not forget that there are no Starbuck’s, no Costa’s, no Nero’s in our town and only 100 Starbuck’s in all of France! Whereas there are 800 in the UK.  (1,030 in Jan 2018 and growing!) We are reliant on finding a good cup of coffee in one of the hundreds of local bars. Our demand for ‘un grand café crème’ could result in anything from a small cup of black coffee with a small jug of cold milk to a medium sized cup of milky coffee. We used to visit a different bar every week and give them marks out of 10 for the size and quality of the drink. At one restaurant my ‘grand café crème’ was so small that I ordered a second. As a result, I had paid a total of 7€ for what was the equivalent of a small coffee in Nero’s or Starbuck’s. Since a McDonald’s is only 3 minutes-walk away, at the bottom of our road, we can have a decent sized good quality coffee for a very reasonable price. If I say that once I asked for a ‘deca(decaffeinated) grand café crème’ in a bar and was given a drink prepared from teaspoon of instant coffee and cold milk, you will realise how much we appreciate McDonald’s! If you see a Memphis Coffee restaurant it is not very well named. The one thing you cannot do is to walk in and ask for a coffee! When I offered someone a pre-lunch coffee, I was told that French people drink coffee after a meal.

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