While on a recent trip to Paris, we stumbled upon a very curious-looking McDonald’s wedged between two ornate Haussmann-style buildings on the bustling Rue Saint-Lazare, right across from the Gare Saint-Lazare. It clearly wasn’t originally built as a McDonald’s, and we’re just going to come out and say that it very well might be the most adorable and charming McDonald’s on Earth.
The timbered façade (click here for a full-size photo) is ornamented with steins of beer, tobacco pipes, the Strasbourg coat of arms, and traditional Alsatian touches. A stork is perched on the roof, and, most notably, an enormous statue of a king admiring a goblet of beer adorns the third floor.
Whatever this place originally was, it was a lot more fun than a McDonald’s.
We did a little digging and discovered that the building was originally home to a restaurant called Au Roi de la Biere (“The King of Beer”), which opened around the turn of the twentieth century. As for the statue, that’s of none other than Gambrinus, a legendary figure in parts of Europe; he’s widely celebrated as an unofficial patron saint of beer and is often referred to as the King of Beer.
You can find close-up photos of all the restored ornament here; thankfully, the façade was deemed a historical monument in 1997, so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.