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McDonald's Spares Paris a Mac Attack

June 22, 1996|From Associated Press

PARIS — McDonald's gave Parisians a break Friday.

One day after a protest, McDonald's canceled plans to sell its burgers and fries in a building where Picasso and other masters bought their brushes and oils.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's France said the decision was based on "technical difficulties" in getting a construction permit and not on opposition in the historic Left Bank neighborhood.

On Thursday, jeering protesters waving signs that read, "McDonald's Go Home," converged on the site in the French capital's leafy Old Montparnasse district.

There was no immediate reaction to McDonald's pullout. The protesters had vowed to succeed as other Parisians did in 1993, when McDonald's tried but failed to open an eatery near the Eiffel Tower.

McDonald's had wanted to put a restaurant in a 150-year-old building on Vavin-Brea square. The location is picture-postcard French, with a bakery, cafe and lingerie shop.

Golden arches were never a part of the plan. Neighborhood activists bitterly fought it, pointing out that Picasso, Modigliani and Soutine bought paints and supplies at an art shop in the same building.

More than 16,000 people had signed petitions against McDonald's plans.

There are about 450 McDonald's restaurants in France, including 145 in the Paris region. The food is popular, but not the restaurants' locations, which include the Champs-Elysees.

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