Even though I grew up in France, the drinking culture never cease to amaze me. Okay, maybe “amaze” is the wrong word: it actually scares me more than anything. “La modération” is a foreign word here, in Brittany.
French drink a lot but they don’t realize it. Their excuse? “C’est culturel“, “it is our culture”. It is true to a certain extent. France does produce good wine and a lot of people truly enjoy it, but I am really not sure nursing a can of beer while grocery shopping should be considered “normal” or “part of the culture”. There is no legal drinking age—technically there is but I have never seen it being enforced, and teens can easily buy alcohol at the supermarket or in bars. Binge drinking is popular among students and even seemingly “responsible” people tend to drink too much at dinnertime.
I am not a teetotaler but I find it strange and slightly annoying to see people drunk in public during the day… And it gets worse at night, especially in the downtown core, where people party until sunrise and occasionally fight, get sick or express their drunkenness loudly in the street.
In Nantes, the area between Commerce and Bouffay is a long succession of pubs, kebab restaurants, cafés and wine bars. Terraces encroach on the sidewalk and French enjoy their favourite activities: drinking, eating, chatting and smoking.
You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.