Ooh lala! Bonjour! I bet that when you ask most people in the world where they would love to go for romantic vacations, they would love to go to the city of love, Paris, France. It seems like it has been a goal that transcends culture and race for couples for a very long time. What draws people to France might be the idea of a romanticized version of Paris in most well-known movies and series.
But sometimes a visit to France is not complete, especially for those alcohol-loving bunch if they don’t drink, and sometimes drinking in cafés or pubs in France is a little too expensive for them, but is drinking in the park a viable alternative? Let’s find out.
Drinking laws in France
If you are planning to visit France any time soon, it would be best to brush up on the different drinking laws and provisions that are imposed in France. You wouldn’t want the French police to snatch you up while you are on your vacation.
Legal Drinking Age
The legal drinking age in this country is 18 years of age. Quite the average since in some countries they allow minors as young as 12 to drink wine, and then there are those like in the US that have their legal drinking age at around 21 years old.
Being one of the oldest well-established countries, France would like to keep decency in their streets as much as possible. That’s why, in some provisions of their law, you will find that bar and pub owners are not allowed to sell or give alcoholic beverages to people who appear intoxicated already. This puts responsibility down to a tee. Talk about having enough care for your neighbors instead of caring so much for capitalism.
No Public Intoxication
Part of France’s laws is the prohibition of public intoxication, and they take this seriously. The French, especially the Parisians, take it to heart to protect the dignity and uphold the beauty of their city, most especially to the eyes of the massive number of prying eyes like that of the tourists.
There are specific places where drinking alcohol is not allowed, like the area at the foot of the Eiffel Tower or the Champ de Mars, the area around and within the Champ Elysées, the large area of the Marais, and a big portion of the Montmartre. Drinking alcohol is also not allowed in the Place de la Nation, Place de la Bastille, Les Halles, the district of Belleville, Invalides, and some small neighborhoods that lie just outside the city proper.
No one is also allowed to carry or drink alcohol anywhere near the bodies of water in the center of Paris. But they allow Parisians and tourists to drink in the nearby bars and cafés so long as they stay within the bar or café’s vicinity.
You might be thinking that if public drinking is mostly prohibited, then it can be deduced that drinking alcohol in squares and municipal parks in Paris, France, is also prohibited. Certain parks like Jardin des Plantes, Parc de la Villette, Jardin du Luxembourg, Tuileries, Palais-Royal, and Jardin d’ Acclimatation don’t allow drinking of alcohol in any form or for any reason. Just put it this way, parks and squares are usually visited by families with children among them.
It wouldn’t seem appropriate for a child to be running around and playing when there are grown-ups who are getting slowly drunk in the same vicinity. There could be some serious accidents. The children could accidentally discover alcoholic beverages and might think that it is just like some version of a soda or juice and might try to drink it.
Meanwhile, the grownups could get drunk and might act in some manner that is both unpleasant and dangerous to others around them, most especially to the children. In any case, it would be impractical, irresponsible, and unnecessary to drink in public parks and squares in any part of the world.
Classy and Cultured Drinking
There is such a thing as class and culture when it comes to drinking. In different countries, there are existing norms that govern their way of drinking alcohol to the point that it has caused some disputes between individuals.
An example of this so-called norm is the one they have in Japan, where no one is ever allowed to pour their drink, especially when they are in the company of co-workers, friends, and even family. Similarly, South Korea and China also have this kind of custom but more particularly geared toward pouring drinks for elders and superiors first and never letting their cups be empty during occasions.
This norm can be surprising to the West, but to those who live in the East, respecting one’s elders and superiors is a must and is taught at an early age.
In the Czech Republic and Germany, they always like to make eye contact when making their toasts. So don’t shy away when they make that connection with you, for the Italians, on the other hand. They don’t drink their alcohol, particularly wine alone. It always has to be paired with a meal. It would be hard to find pure Italians to be drinking beer or gin in a bar somewhere.
It always is a bottle of wine with their favorite lunch or dinner. Who would’ve thought that if you made a toast in Hungary using beer, they would frown upon you? Well, you see, they have a bad history with beer. Way back in 1848, when Austria defeated the revolutionaries of Hungary, the Austrians celebrated their victory with beer, and so beer has always had a bit of a bad taste for the Hungarians.
The French also have a drinking culture aside from what was mentioned earlier about how strict they are when it comes to drinking in public places, and they also don’t like it if you chug down your drink quickly.
In France, the people there love to savor their drinks like wine, that’s why you won’t see their wine glasses full. It is also customary for them to serve or pour wine for women first, talking about chivalry being alive still in France. No one would want to overstep their stay in one country, so it’s best to observe their local customs and respect their culture. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.