The reason for this is their changing habits and their total emulation of American culture - eating in fast food chains has become a cheap and easy way to kill a few hours for French parents. There are 12 very busy McDonalds in the department where we live ( pop of 400,000), along with a handful of Quicks ( the French Mcdonalds) and a KFC that opened 2 years ago. The evening KFC opened, eager clients waited in queues for kilometres, blocking roads and roundabouts and required police intervention. Les Francais are hungry for it!
The sad thing is that it is mostly the kids that are getting chunky, as the parents are pretty careful about what passes their lips ( coffee, cigarettes, diet pills...) and are for the most part obsessed about their weight and yours as well, by the way!
But, the world doesn't really want to hear this do they? Books like "French Women Don't Get Fat" and "French Kids Eat Everything" are adorned with pictures of healthy thin French women skipping gaily and happily (guffaw) about their lives, eating fruit and vegetables in season and delighting in taking the stairs rather than the lift ( guffaw). They depict French Kids obediently eating their braised calves livers and haricots verts while docile at the table for hours on end. People want to buy into this and bestsellers fly off the shelves as the rest of the world tries to copy this cool and thin chicness.
This week is "Semaine du Gout" , the week of taste, here in France and so there had been a lot of talk about food education and habits in France. Amazing that a country's habits can change in such a short time frame .. let's hope that they get back on track. After all, French food and all that goes with it is one of the things we all love about France, n'est-ce pas?