You can tell I’ve been hanging out in Paris too long, because when it comes to Wi-Fi, I overlooked the most obvious: McDonalds. What could make more sense? After the library and certain Paris parks, ‘McDo’ is the obvious choice for free internet acces, and according to the site Cafe Wi-Fi.com, the majority of MacDonalds in Paris offer good connection service (except for Tolbiac according to one post).
McDonalds has been a Paris fixture since the 1970s. For students, the hamburger chain provides an inexpensive option for meals – and as noted on the Cafe Wi-Fi since, the introduction of free Wi-fi has definitely increased a presence during off hours. The McDonalds ‘look’ has changed quite a bit since its pioneer days in France. A good example would be the La Defense branch of McDonalds which you might have trouble recognizing with its interior shades of subdued Zen green instead of the blasting orange.
Another good reason for tourists to visit the McDonalds has been the assured availability of ‘les toilettes’.
No need to talk much about the menu. You already know what to expect. If the menu meets your budget, what more needs to be said? Except that you may be surprised to find such additions to the menu as beer in certain European countries, i.e. Berlin, Germany. To be honest, I haven’t dropped in on a McDonalds in Paris since we took a quick look at the La Defense Mcdo (so I can’t say offhand if wine is available on the French menu, but it wouldn’t be surprising if wine was available).
When the first Champs Elysees Mcdonalds was established, one American student in Paris had the opportunity to give us a ‘behind the scenes’ description of making Big Mcs on the Champs. The only negative of his job was having to put on heavy boots to go down to the ‘cave’ (the store’s basement). Yes, like every basement in Paris, we all have the same problem (furry friends who have probably lived here since the Romans were in town).
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Aside from the unpleasant descent into the basement, I think this student enjoyed his stint working at a McDonalds.
BTW, for English-speaking students looking for wait jobs in Paris, there are plenty of opporunities. A good resource is FUSAC, the free newspaper you can found distributed at many cafes/restaurants with American/English/Irish food or beer.