McDonald's at the Louvre? Critics complain, but the French can't say no


Sacre bleu! It's news that could turn the Mona Lisa's smile to a frown: McDonald's (MCD) says it will open an outlet in the food court in the basement of the Louvre. To understand how Paris, a city that personifies cultural snobbery and culinary elitism, could let Mickey D's flip burgers beneath one of its most hallowed institutions, it helps to know how France, somehow, became McDonald's second-biggest market.

Slate credits the Royale Deluxe -- best known for its cameo role as "Royale with cheese" in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction -- with writer Mike Steinberger arguing that that sandwich is all about the mustard. Steinberger, a wine writer and author of a book about the decline of French food, suggests that McDonald's "conquered France," savvily, by giving the people what they desired: French food. Sort of. It's really McDonald's food -- hamburgers and french fries -- marketed as food sourced in France. But worst of all, he sniffs, is that the French are doing the marketing: "It's an inside job."