No great discoveries here, just a chance to satisfy my curiousity.
I insisted on trying the frites at McDonald's. After a valiant effort to talk me out of it, my traveling companion finally relented and pulled into the next one. However, he stayed in the car, and put his shades on, no less, in order not to be recognized by any stray American friends who might be passing by. (G)
The young man behind the counter was properly McD's fresh scrubbed and tried hard to be of service, despite my lack of language skills. As this was a non-meal hour, there were no fries under the heating lamps and a batch was cooked up to order. Tossed with a bit of salt and then scooped into the same kind of cardboard holder we have here, the frites were handed to me with a few packets of "frites sauce", which turned out to be a mustardy mayo concoction. I was also asked if I would like ketchup.
The fries turned out to be pretty good and worth eating. Not the greatest I'd had, but comparable to the frites served with moules at a couple of bistro meals. Evenly golden brown and crisp, not quite as sweet and creamy inside as the best. They were good as long as they were hot, but didn't have enough flavor to be interesting once they cooled down.
The other interesting cultural thing here were the promo signs for Croque McDo.
The other stop on the autoroute was at the Nougat Boutique outside Montelimar which is the nougat capital of France. I didn't have enough time to go into Montelimar to shop, and this turned out to be an efficient alternative. There were probably 30 producers represented on the shelves here, and several styles, grades and sizes. Pricing seemed to be based on almond content, which ranged up to 50% for the deluxe nougat noir (the special black nougat of Provençe), 30-35% for the best of the white nougats (both dry and tendre styles), and much less for the bargain brands which had more sugar in the ingredient list than nuts. The clerks were restocking the self-service shelves, so I helped myself out of the packing cartons to be sure to have the freshest stuff.