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Five things they don’t tell you about getting tipsy in France

Do not be drawn into French drinking songs - being noticeably drunk in public is against the law

People in France tend not to fill their glasses to the brim Pic: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

1. L’ivresse

It is not illegal to get a bit pompette (tipsy) in France, but letting it show as you walk home could land you in deep trouble – particularly if you seriously cannot walk straight. 

This is because l’ivresse manifeste dans un lieu public is against the law. 

So after a well-watered soirée, take a taxi. 

C’est mieux!

Read more: Six phrases to describe being drunk in French

2. Le petit verre

People in France do not habitually fill their glasses to the brim and knock them back in one. 

They prefer to drink very small amounts over a long period of time, as if they had not the slightest intention of getting éméché (tipsy), let alone imbibé (soaked), beurré (buttered) or cuit (cooked). 

Restons raisonnables!

3. Le champagne

Chic French women know the calorific value of everything they put in their mouths, including toothpaste, so are not going to waste calories on alcohol. 

A small flute of iced champagne, however, and perhaps just another small one after that... well, this is an entirely different matter. 

It is champagne, after all. 

Un de plus ici! 

Read more: Five things they don’t tell you… about wine in France

4. Le toast

Giving a toast can be as simple as saying tchin, tchin or as complex as portons un toast à la santé du nouveau-né! (Let’s toast the newborn’s health!). 

But whichever it is, do not cross arms with anyone as you are clinking glasses, and be sure to look everyone in the eye. 

A la tienne!

Read more: ‘Tchin tchin’, ‘santé’, eye contact: The rituals of French apéros

5. Les chansons à boire

France has a rich repertoire of drinking songs, beloved by students and wedding parties. 

If you happen to get involved, or a group of revellers offer to teach you some, beware! 

Serious drinking is on the cards and you are likely to end up torché (torched), pété (smashed) or paf (speechless). 

Zut alors!

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