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France Taking the Happy Out of Happy Hour. Non Booze, Merci.

The French may soon be saying au revoir to happy hours and bottle service in clubs. The government body in charge of reducing drug and alcohol addiction is proposing these measures, in an attempt to stop binge drinking among those who try to get liquored up on the cheap, and those who are looking to go all out by buying bottles of hard liquor and the accompanying VIP treatment.

Other proposed measures seem less extreme, such as raising the legal age to purchase beer and wine from 16 to 18 years old. The French government also hopes to end open bar deals, where patrons pay a base fee for all they can drink.

France isn't the only country concerned with rising rates of binge drinking. To see who else is sobering up,


Scotland's government promised "radical measures" such as raising the drinking age to 21. Australia recently doubled the tax on premixed alcoholic beverages.

Are the French plans examples of detrimental governmental interference with healthy business competition? Since France has already banned the patriotic nightclub cigarette, perhaps the vodka bottles are fair game. Should drinking establishments be allowed to attract customers with schemes that encourage alcohol consumption? What would be an effective way of discouraging such a dangerous habit like binge drinking?

Join The Conversation
MSucre MSucre 9 years
Yes I still helped her. Also, when I say European culture I don't refer to England. England is Anglo-Saxon, sound us! And so they share more of our drinking habits than they would with their Romantic brothers on the European continent.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
But you still helped her, right?
MSucre MSucre 9 years
I've lived in France before, and I have observed that there is a much less problematic drinking problem. For example, leaving bars in America, I have seen girls so drunk, soooo drunk that they didn't know where they were going or with whom. I have NEVER seen that in France. After a year of living here, I have never seen that. So people get drunk all over the world. But the abuse is what I'm talking about. Even with the bottle service, I've never seen a woman in France so durnk. Wait, one time I saw a girl passed out in the gutter outside of the Moulin Rouge. When I went to help her, I realized that she was an American. Voila, quoi.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
It may be different, but it does not mean it is better or helps control alcohol addiction.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I think the "French people" in the photo are actually people who live in New Jersey partying at the Limelight in the Chelsea District. Sorry.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I don't think anybody is saying that they do not have drinking problems in Europe but I do think that they have a different perspective of drinking there
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I will never understand why people in this country think that Europe has less alcohol problems because they drink younger. In my opinion it is not true. Wasn't there a major problem with binge drinking incidents with the youth this past New Years in England? Hervé Chabalier said, "In this country (France)we have always, culturally, looked at alcohol through a magnifying glass: we just see the good side, never the fact that ... drink is the third greatest cause of avoidable deaths in France."
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Well, while I've been in Cannes for the festival, it seems many people start drinking by lunch time, so I'm not sure what killing off happy hour will do (unless of course happy hour starts around 11:00AM :) ).........
Blondie99 Blondie99 9 years
This is an interesting story.
MSucre MSucre 9 years
I agree with remifromparis, not about the picture but about the drinking. I also think that France should not change the leagal drinking age. I always thought that because young Frenchies could drink at the age of 16, they did so more responsably. They didn't need to go hiding around, they drank in bars and cafes. And therefore they respected reasonable limits. It's when the young american high schoolers drink in the street, in parks, or when the parents go out of town that they go overboard.
remifromparis remifromparis 9 years
Hi to all, I live in Paris and I don't think this is going to change anything in the way people like to party. If someone wants to get drunk as a deadrat for a night, then he should have the right to. Btw the picture is really cool.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Most of the foreign people I have met are over that whole binge drinking phase by the time they are 18 since they start out younger. Raising the age limit will not change anything. And I really do not thinking raising the prices here either. I live in a college town where its main revenue is alcohol and it is EXPENSIVE. The price and age limit definitely does not stop the binge drinking here
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
To me, this seems like too much government interference.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
janneth, I think France is trying to root out some American-type drinking habits like bottle service and happy hours. Once drinking for the sake of getting drunk has started happening, is it possible to turn back?
janneth janneth 9 years
First no smokes and now no bottles. The people in the photo will soon stop smiling. Is there a drinking problem in France? I had the impression that they handle it pretty well in that they have alcohol (wine) as teenagers with their families, and grow used to it in normal social situations, not sneaking around like their American counterparts.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
Well, I'm not sure how raising the age limit is going to change anything. The age limit in the US is 21, but most drinkers are probably under that age. However, increasing the price and taxes of alcohol might be helpful, as well as getting rid of that open bar deal. I mean, that makes it too easy for ten people to split the cost and get as much liquor as their livers can take. It's rather silly!
stephley stephley 9 years
Are there any statistics that suggest prohibitive measures actually help? I think the 'all you can drink' base fee is a really bad idea and cutting it out might help a teensy bit, but even so, all these measures would just be minor obstacles to someone who wants to get drunk.
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