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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Waistlines

 French Country Travel Life Waistlines...are expanding. Not as fast as they are in the excited states, but, as DA BG will (and does) confirm they are increasing. an obviously disturbing factoid in the hitherto sacred realm of French Food.

This crisis due in no small part to the “Americianization” of French life. Particularly Business life. With it’s emphasis on the three business essentials: Productivity, more productivity, and even more productivity. Which, bien sur, translates into more activity. Which means speed. All of which translates into : less time to eat.

My fellow scribbler Georgia Benjamin (yes, i must say it) “weighs in” with the details:


GEORGIA BENJAMIN - 12/03/13For a country characterised by its long sit-down dinners, Michelin-starred restaurants and women who ‘don’t get fat’, France is developing a surprisingly strong penchant for fast food.

Fast food restaurants have now overtaken traditional table-service restaurants (i.e. brasseries, cafés, bistros) in popularity, to account for 54% of the market share, up from 40% in 2011.

“We are at a historical turning point in cuisine,” says Bernard Boutboul, Director of food consultancy Gira Conseil, “lifestyles are changing and people want to eat more and more quickly.

The average time spent at a meal in France has dropped from 80 minutes in 1975 to less than 30 minutes today.

Georgia Benjamin 12/03/12

Convenience and quality

The shift from traditional dining to fast food has also been attributed to improved quality and variety in convenience meals as well as tougher economic conditions (which have tightened consumer spending).

Paul Bocuse, the “pope” of French cooking, is among a growing number of chefs who have introduced fast food to his chain of restaurants which include the world-famous l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges in Lyon.

According to Yves Pinard, chef at Le Grand Louvre inside Paris’s Louvre museum, “The three key words in today’s restaurant business are: ‘quick’, ‘good’ and ‘not too expensive’.

Georgia Benjamin 12/03/12

On the other end of the fast-food spectrum, France is the world’ssecond-highestconsumer of McDonalds. There are now 1,200 McDonalds franchises in France, with 30 restaurants opening per year in the past five years alone.

McDonalds has worked hard to cater to French dining culture and tastes, introducing meals such as the McCamembert burger and McBaguette, which have been a roaring success.

The creeping cost

While France has one of the ‘skinniest’ populations in the Western world, obesity has still doubled in the past 15 years to 15%. This takes the proportion of obese and overweight people in France to nearly half the population; 47 %.4  As a point of comparison, Australia’s overweight and obese population currently stands at 63 %.

The most marked increase in the past three years has been amongst 18-24 year olds where obesity levels have shot up by 35 %.4

Georgia Benjamin 12/03/12But is fast food to blame for France’s growing obesity problem? Well, partly.

61% of French youths say they eat at least half the time in front of a screen, often skipping meals by eating throughout the day, a quarter “often” consume soda drinks at meal times and more than a third play no sport; all high riskfactors for obesity. 

Socio-economic factors such as income, education and geography are also a major determinant of obesity in all age-groups of the population. Poorer people, particularly in the far North and East of France, are the most overweight. Women with poor education are almost three times more likely to be overweight than their more-educated counterparts and men, 1.6 times more likely.

Read more HERE


What are ya thinkin’?


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23 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Waistlines”

  1. canson morris says:

    terrific intro image……for a great post!

  2. sandra huffman says:

    another case of america’s bad influence on eating habits. sad to see. but inevitable i guess.

  3. ron waters says:

    “Mcbaugette?” – gimme a break!

  4. emile portman says:

    quick good and not too expensive seem to be the standard in restaurant cuisine these days…..

  5. parish langman says:

    emile..granted..unless you’re talking about france’s famous gastronomic eating places….right?

  6. cynthia bennetton says:

    really love the picture of the sidewalk cafe…..everyone’s vision of paris….(well, mine at least)

  7. kenny havers says:

    another black mark for the USA!…..first micky mouse, then rambo, then michael jackson……what next?

  8. merle docson says:

    kenny….you forgot elvis.

  9. scott stevens says:

    forget about chinese money taking over france….it”s macdonals they need to worry about!

  10. adell starkey says:

    ok..stastics are statistics..but when i visited france i didn’t see as many fat poeple in my whole trip…as i see in, one day here in the mall shopping!

  11. jani carter says:

    incredible to learn how much macdonalds has taken over the french eating scene….increadible in a bad way!

  12. shamus o'malley says:

    it doesn’t make sense to me that they say poor people are the most overweight…..if they buy less food..;why are they fatter?

  13. goodson thomas says:

    good point shamus…logic would seem to be on your side.

  14. francote telsa says:

    right goodson..;but not the statistics…(but then..are statistics ever on anyone’s side?

  15. mark warren says:

    libert, equality….and Macdonalds?

  16. sara young says:

    mark…that’s a heckva “new” french motto!

  17. norm flockhart says:

    if you believe these (yes, i’ll say it) “figures” (lol)…the folks down under are fatter than the French. and they only get one line in this post!

  18. carl penson says:

    norm…are you suggesting that DA BG is “aussie bashing?”

  19. fredi langman says:

    well if french food is going downhill…at least they’ve got the wine§

  20. jean baptiste chevalier says:

    mr fredi..i can assure that no matter how many macdonalds come to france, and no matter how many “studies” say that the french are getting fatter…..orur food..like our wine…is definitely NOT going downhill!

  21. margo rutherford -jones says:

    bravo jean baptiste!….in fact..in my opinion…french food (and wine) is going (and has always been going) in the OTHER DIRECTION!

  22. suzi bosh says:

    far be it from me to differ with “statistics”…but on my (many) visits to france…the fattest people i see are tourists; (and not the asian ones. hint hint!)

  23. alec smart says:

    suzi….had exactly the same experience.

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