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Alcohol Law in France

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The alcohol law in France is amongst the strictest in Europe but still lots of cases of binge drinking and drunk driving incidents are reported every year. New alcohol law was enforced by French Government to tackle the problem of binge drinking amongst youth on 22nd July, 2009. According to the new law the sale of alcohol to minors is prohibited everywhere across France. This law was regulated after some hospitals reported that the number of patients under 25 being admitted due to binge drinking had doubled between 2004 -2007.


Read through this blog to get an idea of existing as well new alcohol laws in France.


Legalized Drinking Age
The legalized drinking age in France is 18 years.  The new law bans sale of alcohol to people less than 18 years, everywhere in France. Prior to this there were grey areas under certain jurisdiction where teenagers between the ages of 16-18 could indulge in drinking various kinds of alcohol.


Amendments to Drinking Law
Prior to legalization of new drinking law in France, people were allowed to drink at an “open bar” where they could drink to their heart's content at a fixed price. Most of the people indulged in open bar drinking. But new bill bans promotion of alcohol under such special schemes because the authorities believe that this encourages binge drinking and irresponsible behaviour. According to Ms Bachelot, the French Health Minister, such alcohol promotion schemes “are a classic at student parties and encourage binge drinking”. Consuming alcohol in public places near schools is strongly prohibited .


Another law amendment forces ban on sale of alcohol at petrol stations. The ban was already imposed on sale of alcohol at petrol stations but it was only enforced between 10 PM and 6 AM. Wines, spirits, and beer were sold at filling stations, and mostly the petrol pump owners profited from such sales by promoting their local brands. The authorities believe that this law will help to curb the drunk driving.  In fact some petrol pump owners have raised their voices against this law because they say that it will reduce their incomes by 60% and more than petrol they benefit by selling alcohol to youths. Previously youth were drawn to such petrol pumps because they sold alcohol at cheaper rates.


Stricter laws are also imposed regarding the television and radio advertisements related to alcohol. But these laws have been relaxed for internet advertisements. The websites hosted by sports and youth organizations as well the websites directed at youth are strictly prohibited from posting the alcohol related advertisements. Internet advertisements also need to fulfill the same requirements as the written billboards and press advertisements.


The BAC is set to 0.05% and drinking is strictly prohibited for drivers who regularly use public highways. Hefty fines and imprisonment are meted out on offenders and at times they are also deprived of their driving licenses for long period of time.


So, in short if you plant to visit Paris in near future for partying and boozing then you need to have thorough understanding of alcohol law in France.  


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Alcohol Law In France