Regulation about smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs


ATOUT FRANCE / Michel Laurent
© ATOUT FRANCE / Michel Laurent

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 29 August 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

France, renowned for its world famous wines, delectable cuisine and the allure of its iconic landmarks. However, as you prepare for your amazing journey, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the legal regulations surrounding not only alcohol but also smoking in France. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand the legal drinking age and smoking rules in France, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable visit.

What is the legal drinking age in France?

The legal drinking age in France is 18 years old. This means individuals must be at least 18 years of age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages, including wine, beet and spirits. This age limit is strictly enforced, and establishments serving alcohol are required to verify proof of age. Always be prepared to show your identification (especially if you are close to the legal drinking age) to ensure compliance with the law. The legal drinking age in Paris or in all areas in France is the same.


Any driver under the influence of alcohol seriously compromises the safety of passengers and other road users. As a result, driving with a level of alcohol in the blood equal to or higher than 0.5g per litre of blood is prohibited.

The police and gendarmerie can test for alcohol levels in a driver's blood. It is prohibited to travel (even on foot) under the influence of alcohol along a public highway.

It is prohibited to sell or offer alcoholic drinks to minors aged under 18 years old (in drinks outlets, shops and public places). Anyone who allows a minor to drink until they are in a state of drunkenness is committing a crime.

According to the law of 10 January 1991 it is prohibited to introduce alcoholic drinks into establishments for physical and sporting activities.


In addition to alcohol laws, it is essential to be aware of smoking regulations in France. Smoking is prohibited in public places (museums, monuments, cinemas) or on public transport. Restaurants are all non-smoking. This ban applies both indoor and covered outdoors areas. Many establishments offer designated smoking areas, usually in open ai sections, so be sure to check for signage indicating where smoking is permitted.

Legal Smoking

The legal smoking age in France is 18 years old, mirroring the legal drinking age. This means that individuals must be at least 18 years old to purchase and smoke tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars.


In France, the possession, use, and distribution of illegal drugs are strictly prohibited including "soft drugs" as such marijuana. France has strict drug legislation, and violations can have serious legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. Penalties can vary depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved, but in general, drug offenses are taken seriously by law enforcement authorities.


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