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Many of my students ask me a lot of questions about French alcohol consumption. Do the French drink wine for breakfast? Do children in France drink alcohol? Today, we're going to untangle the truth from the preconceived ideas that we may have about French alcohol consumption. Here we go!
Stereotype number 1: The French are the biggest alcohol consumers in the world.
Wrong! The French are not the heaviest drinkers of alcohol in the World. France is in 6ᵉ place among the countries that consume the most alcohol in the world. According to a 2017 study, the French drink 11.7 liters of alcohol per person per year.
Stereotype number 2: French alcohol consumption is decreasing
True! For several years, the consumption of alcohol by the French has been decreasing. As I told you, in 2017 the alcohol consumption of the French was 11.7 liters, in 1990 it was 15.4 liters, in 1980 it was 20.1 and in 1970 it was 23.2 liters.
Stereotype number 3: The French drink alcohol with every meal
Wrong! The French do not drink alcohol with every meal. We don't drink alcohol at breakfast. But there's a reason why everyone thinks the French drink alcohol at every meal. Because they used to. In the Middle Ages and up until the beginning of the XIXᵉ century, the French drank alcohol as early as breakfast. They drank up to 2 / 3 liters of alcohol per day. At that time, it was easier to get access to wine than to drinking water.
Stereotype number 4: French children drink alcohol.
Wrong! The consumption of alcohol is forbidden for minors in France. Children do not drink alcohol in France. But, again, this preconceived notion is still born from a truth. Before 1956, children drank ½ liter of beer or wine at breakfast. Alcohol was allowed in school and wine was served to children in the canteen. The state and doctors recommended drinking alcohol rather than water.
Stereotype number 5: The French think that alcohol is a drug.
Wrong! The French know that alcohol is dangerous. But, as I told you, we used to have a completely different opinion about alcohol. We thought that alcohol was very good for our health and that it helped us to stay healthy. Doctors used to recommend drinking alcohol regularly. Fortunately, we now know that alcohol is dangerous for our health.
Stereotype number 6: The French mostly drink alcohol at home
True! French people tend to drink more at home rather than in bars or at friends' houses. This fact is linked to the numerous restrictions of the State, the increase in the price of alcohol and the ban on smoking in public spaces.
Stereotype number 7: Brittany is the place where people drink the most alcohol in France.
Wrong! It is not in Brittany where we drink the most alcohol. It is in the Occitanie region where we drink the most alcohol. And it is in Ile-de-France where people drink less alcohol
Myth number 8: Wine is the favorite alcohol of the French.
True! Even if with globalization, other alcohols have become more popular in France, wine remains the favorite alcohol of the French. Young people tend to consume more beer and strong spirits, while adults and the elderly consume wine daily.
Do we drink a lot of alcohol in your country? Tell me !
I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷