Another France story

The french do not seem to take the drinking age seriously. Walking through the streets Paris at night, looking for a decent place to eat is a relatively simple task. Choosing a place is the difficult part… If someone is a vegetarian, or if they do not have a particular taste in a certain type of food, it can make deciding difficult. Finally, we found this humble restaurant tucked between two shops on a cobblestone street. It looked perfect. So, we went inside and found a table. We were sitting, waiting a few minutes for the waiter to come to our seats, listening to the woman playing upbeat music on the piano and singing in the corner. Then, the waiter came around to us. We chatted for a little as he asked us where we were from, being very social and welcoming. Then, he asked us what we wanted to drink. We all said water. He, politely, said no. Puzzled, we asked why? He asserted that we were all to order the wine if we did want an authentic dinner in Paris. We told him that we were underage (most of us by only a few months.) He said without pressuring us, “Underaged? As long as you are over two years old then it is legal to drink here,” So, we agreed and ordered wine and enjoyed it with our dinner. I thought, in America, there is no possible way that would have happened. It is absurd to think about. A simple drink with dinner can set two cultures apart and that interested me greatly. 

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5 Responses to Another France story

  1. John Scanlon says:

    Living in New York my entire life, I probably would have had a similar reaction of perplexity as you and your friends had. I find it very interesting that French people would be very open to such an idea, considering their culture is relatively similar to our own. One thing I do wonder is how the native people of France, and other European countries, view the idea of a lower drinking age in their own country.

  2. Gen Hua Tan says:

    It’s quite hard to picture a mother or father feeding their 3 year old child some wine. But I guess that’s perfectly normal in France!

    The way I see it is that wine is a French tradition, an aesthetic that they value. And because of that, maybe the French take drinking modestly unlike heavy drinkers here in U.S.. Hence, the French would run into less problems as they tend not to over drink. However, how can I be sure? I know almost nothing about their cultures – it would be nice to visit France one day to find out though! In any case…

    How did the wine taste? :)

  3. Alessandra Rao says:

    This was a great post, and I can somewhat relate because I come from an Italian family, where drinking wine is the norm during dinner. In fact, my grandpa drinks a glass of wine every day because the doctor said it is good for his heart.

    A few years ago, my Italian class went to Italy (I didn’t though), and according to my friend, they went to a discoteca (club) and had a few drinks! Not to mention, they were only 16. The teacher even got drunk. I also heard there were kids as young as 14 in there.

    As Gen said, I also find it rather difficult to imagine a three year old drinking, but if that’s what floats their boat, then let it be…haha.

  4. Joseph Maugeri says:

    Well he was being sarcastic, they don’t really let two year olds drink.

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