SO who fancies going for a McMona Lisa after this? Tsk. Tsk. Parisians were full of rage this week when they learned that McDonalds is preparing to open an outlet in the Louvre.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they argued that Big Macs and the Venus De Milo are not the obvious combination for France’s best known art museum.
Maccy D’s press people reacted by telling the anti-fries lobby not to worry but their promise that it would be one of the chain’s “very high level” branches has done little by way of reassurance. Presumably”very high level” means the fries will be cooked in ostrich fat and that the fillet ‘o’ fishes, if they still do them, will be made with only the finest sea bass. And there will be no kids spitting little bits of straw wrappers at each other. And Carla Bruni might busk on her guitar outside.
This culture clash has, of course, all been seen before. The good burghers (oh yes) of Hampstead certainly know the drill. In a war of attrition, they were slowly left brow-beaten when McDonalds decided they wanted to sell their happy meals out of Hampstead Village.
Although ultimately unsuccessful, the campaign against McDonalds was spirited. In fact, neighbourhood folklore – they love telling this one up in NW3 – has it that Ronnie Mac took 13 years to break it down and needed to navigate through a raft of legal hearings to move from the initial buying of a site in Hampstead to actually opening its doors in 1992.
Famous faces including Tom Conti, Margaret Drabble, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Foot and of course the late Peggy Jay all helped supply resistance with the customary petitions and threats of judicial review. In the end, Hampstead got a “high level” branch. No sea bass, it effectively meant the outside was painted black and the golden arches were toned down.