So, if you’d think that Paris would be filled with traditional restaurants with creamy, buttery, meaty french food you’re wrong. Paris is a city filled with people with a penchant for fast food. I’ve asked all my students what their favorite restaurant or food is and they all say McDonalds. I know more French people who like McDonalds than Americans who do. (And whenever I tell French people that they look angry and a little embarrassed at the same time.)

Anyway, there are a lot of McDonalds here, just like in any big city, but they also have KFC, Starbucks, Quick (the French version of McDonalds), tons of what I like to call “fast food bakeries” which are basically like Au Bon Pain. But they also have, their favorite, schwarma.

Schwarma or “un grec” as Parisians like to call it is EVERYWHERE. These restaurants have actually taken over the way the “gourment delis” have taken over Manhattan. Nowadays, you’ll find them in event he nicest neighborhoods. The stores will not be as well lit, there will be less customers, a cleaner dining area, less noise and no Arabic music pouring into the street, but the food tastes the same and you’re still served up with a big, greasy shredded lambmeat sandwich and fries.

I’ve never had schwarma before, not it Paris or New York. Not even in Greece or Turkey. But I have had the fries these places serve. They’re normal, and usually not as good as they could be. You can get better fries at a good brasserie.

I’m not sure why Parisians like their “grecs” so much. You see lots of news reports on how they’re unhealthy, unclean and generally bad for you, but they continue to eat them. The presence of these fast food schwarma places is kind of like that of the hot dog stand in NYC, but without the notoriety. People don’t travel from around the globe to come to Paris and get schwarma. But schwarma traveled here to feed the Parisians!

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