France: Paris rules on drinking in public places
The ‘no drinking’ rule seems to apply inconsistently – must we really refrain from sipping that glass of rosé as we picnic in Paris?
I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this and did what perhaps no one has dared to do before: I went to the préfecture to ask. They looked at me as if I were insane. But I did learn one thing: There is a reason for the inconsistency.
Each city’s maire has the right to establish rules to maintain the public order, and in Paris the rules differ by arrondissement. Even specific streets may have their own rules! And there is yet another layer of confusion, no alcohol is permitted in parks owned by the Ville de Paris – except at licensed establishments.
So, unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to check at the specific préfecture for your neighbourhood. Even then, you must hope the flic on patrol is up on the latest regulations.
Refusing to give up, I decided to search for the relevant arrêtés (orders) and go to a few of the local police stations to get the scoop on some of my favorite picnic spots. Not an easy task! So, a little disclaimer: it’s best to check for yourself to be certain of the very latest rules!
These spots do not permit consumption of alcohol
Jardin du Carrousel
It’s central, there’s grass that dries quickly after rain, and you have a view of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. This park and the Jardin des Tuileries are privately owned by the Louvre.Jardin du Carrousel
Place du Palais Royal, 75001 Paris
Metro: Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre
Jardin du Palais Royal
A quiet spot hidden away in the heart of central Paris, not owned by the city but rather is a designated national monument.Jardin du Palais Royal
1st arrondissement, Paris
Metro: Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre
Jardin du Luxembourg
You can only picnic on the southern lawn towardsObservatoire. These gardens are owned by the Senate and alcohol is only permitted at licensed establishments.Jardin du Luxembourg
Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris
Metro: Odéon Champs de Mars
Quai Branly – Avenue de la Motte Picque, 75007 Paris
Metro: École Militaire
Try to avoid lunch hour for the thousands of school children in the area.Parc Monceau
Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris
Especially when the tulips are in bloom. Alcohol is only permitted in designated establishments. (I recommend Rosa Bonheur!)Buttes Chaumont
Rue Manin, 75019 Paris
Along the quais near Pont des Arts or on the Rive Droite during Paris Plage
Remember to bring a blanket because there is no grass. No public drinking is allowed on the quais in the 6th or on the Pont des Arts from 4pm – 7am, from 1 May – 31 October. The quais in the fourth arrondissement are apparently fair game, so most of ‘Paris Plage’ is theoretically a safe zone.Pont des Arts
Links le quai de Conti and the quai des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
Metro: Pont Neuf Rive Droite (right bank)
1st and 4th arrondissements, Paris
Metro: Tuileries, Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre, Louvre – Rivoli, Châtelet, Saint-Paul
Fantastic view of the cathedral at Les Invalides. Overt consumption of alcohol could pose a problem, but the préfecture of the 7th tells me there is a “tolérance” (i.e. enforcement here is not at the same level as in the Champs de Mars).Avenue Breteuil
7th arrondissement, Paris
Metro: Sèvres – Lecourbe, Duroc, or Ségur
So, it’s complicated.
The good news is this: if you are having a few peaceful drinks (and not an out-of-control party), most likely the police will just come by and ask you to put away the bottles. You’re unlikely to get dragged off to jail or fined without a warning.
Do you have any tips on the rules and regulations in Paris? Share them with us in the comments box below!Image Credits
1. Friday night in Paris by Esa L, via Flickr
2. Jardin du Carrousel by sacratomato_hr, via Flickr
3 – 5. Courtesy of Abby Gordon