There’s so lot confusion end the laws around drinking alcohol in France, native the legal drinking period to where and when you can consume alcohol in public in Paris, that I thought it was time to lay it all the end for you.

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First, the legitimate drinking age for every alcoholic beverages in France is 18.

The French government’s main website, renders it clean on their web page on “Drunkenness-Alcoholism” (translated from the French): “Minors can not buy or consume alcohol in publicly places.”

Furthermore, this notification can be uncovered posted in every establishment that selling or serves alcohol:




The human being delivering the drink might require proof from the customer of his or she age, in particular by producing an identity document. It is illegal to sell alcohol complimentary of charge to minors in drink establishments, shops, or public places. It is illegal to get minors under the age of 16 in alcoholic beverage facilities who are not accompanied by a parental or a responsible adult.

IT IS FORBIDDEN TO market ALCOHOLIC drinks AT decreased PRICES for A minimal PERIOD the TIME (“HAPPY HOURS”) WITHOUT also OFFERING over THE SAME duration OF TIME ALCOHOL-FREE drink AT diminished PRICES.

IT IS FORBIDDEN because that BAR owners TO TO provide DRINKS TO human being OBVIOUSLY DRUNK OR TO obtain THEM IN their INSTITUTIONS.


Not therefore complicated, right? other than that when upon a time the waslegal for 16-year-olds to drink “fermented beverages” such together beer, wine and cider (but no hardliquor). The law adjusted in march 2009 when the French adolescents discovered the joys of party drinking. As soon as I was a college student in the 90s, just the American and also British students to be drinking till vomiting, if the French looked in ~ us choose we were crazy. Yet in the past decade, French kids started transforming up en masse every weekend in hospitals v alcohol poisoning, or fully trashing public spaces favor the Champ de Mars ~ receiving your Bac, for this reason the authorities have actually cracked down.

However, as soon as I updated this info on mine website’s“Smoking & Drinking”page, ten year later human being are quiet emailing me insisting ns wrong. Sorry folks. The party is over. If you’re interested in the exact legalese, you deserve to read the in-depth laws (and the dates they to be changed) the the Public health and wellness Code here:ArticleL.3342-1, L.3342-3.

Open Container legislations Have changed in Paris (and glass bottles room a no no)

In fact, not only are friend not permitted to be captured with alcohol under the age of 18, the City the Paris keeps adding more restrictions to where and also when alcohol – and also non-alcoholic beverages in glass bottles (because the damaged glass left behind has become a nuisance) — can be spend in public. Gone are the days of gift able to crack open a bottle of alcohol anytime and anywhere (as lengthy as you had a corkscrew).

The recent directive from the prefecture de Police Arrêté n°2019-00562, released on June 24th this year, prohibits the intake or transporting of alcoholic beverages and also ALL BEVERAGES IN GLASS bottles (even for non-alcoholic beverages) on the quays the the Seine between midnight and also 7am, consisting of the Ile St-Louis, Ile de la Cité, the Left financial institution from Pont Mirabeau come Pont d’Iéna and also Pont imperial to Pont de Tolbiac, and also on the Right financial institution from Pont de Bir Hakeim come Pont de Tolbiac. You have the right to still drink after midnight in bars and péniches top top the Seine as long as you remain on their designated terraces (and clear drink their alcohol, not yours).

Unfortunately these laws are in reality quite facility and tough to follow because each arrondissement’s mayor have the right to make their own neighborhood-specific rules, and these readjust often.Official federal government websites (Mairie de Paris, local mairies, the prefecture de Police, and room the just ones ns trust to provide updated information, so ns will try and encompass the English translations ~ above theSmoking & Drinkingpage that this website as i learn about them. This is what I’ve confirmed so far:

Alcohol is not permitted on the Champs de Mars and also other environment-friendly spaces bordering the Eiffel Tower between 4pm and 7am, and also on the Champs-Elysées, the location de la Bastille, the Rue d’Oberkampf, virtually the whole 18th arrondissement, and the Canal St-Martin (which is extended a little from 9pm-7am).

“But ns see human being drinking at night all of the time!”

Clearly no one got the memo. Yet that doesn’t median the police patrolling the parks and also quays i will not ~ visit her picnic to ask that you dispose of your bottles. Because they aren’t the jerks anyone thinks they are, as lengthy as you otherwise behaving yourselves and also don’t it seems ~ drunk, lock usually give you a warning ~ above the very first pass (try the in the USA), however if lock come ago an hour later and also you’re quiet sipping your pastis, they will certainly confiscate her alcohol and possibly give you a well (up to €7500).

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Since it’s hard to be sure 100% of the time where and also when adults 18 and also over can drink in public, if friend don’t want the police to break up her picnic then avoid glass bottles completely (wine in a box has improved end the years), and avoid drawing attention to yourselves by maintaining your alcohol in unmarked containers or tucked far in a bag. And also do i really need to remind you come clean increase after yourselves? evaluate by the state the the parks and also quays in the morning (and the number of rats running roughly gorging themselves on the leftovers), clearly we have the right to do better. Public trashcans full? you hauled your stuff every the way out there; you can haul that all back to your residence to dispose that it properly if needed. Encourage her entourage and neighboring picnickers to do the same. It would certainly be a shame if France ultimately decides to walk the method of the US through their strict open container laws.