Alcoholic drinks are on sale in any grocer’s, wine shops or supermarkets. While we must not forget that alcohol over-indulgence is simply bad for our health, being drunk and disorderly on the public highway is against the law (in reality, as long as you don’t disturb anyone and that you are on your feet, it may be tolerated). At the wheel, the maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.5 g of alcohol per litre of blood, which is approximately the equivalent of 3 halves of beer, 2 glasses of wine or 3 glasses of champagne. But it goes without saying: don’t drink and drive.
Any establishment selling alcohol is not authorized to serve children under 16 years of age. Drinks less than 15 degrees in strength (wine, beer) can be served to under-18s, but not spirits and liqueurs (whisky, vodka, etc.)
Restaurants that do not have the appropriate licence cannot serve alcoholic drinks except to accompany a meal.
Smoking / Non-smoking
Decree n°2006-1386 dated 15 November 2006 has determined the implementation conditions of smoking prohibition in collective venues.
First, smoking was banned in all enclosed and covered public places, workplaces, health centers, schools and/or institutions designed to receive, educate or host the underage, as well as in all public transport.
Since January 1st 2008, this ban has been extended to so-called “gathering venues” : hotels, restaurants, bars, tobacco shops, casinos and nightclubs.
However, smoking is allowed on café, restaurant and pub terraces, as long as they are not covered, or enclosed.
Opening smoking areas is allowed, yet not compulsory, and these areas are subjected to certain conditions issuing from the effective regulation. Nevertheless, customers will be entitled to no service within these areas.
More information on smoking prohibition in collective venues
Where can you buy cigarettes?
In tobacconists (“bureaux de tabac”) which are recognizable by their red diamond-shaped signs. The average price of a packet of cigarettes is €6. In other places (restaurants, bars, clubs), a packet will cost you a bit more.