Daily Archives: 19/05/2015

France’s alcohol consumption halved in 20 years

I’m including this news story because I lived in France for 6 months and as the ‘French paradox‘ is often held up as the answer to the British approach to alcohol.


According to a new study, just 18% of French men and 6% of French women consume alcohol on a daily basis, marking a reduction of 50% in the past 20 years. On the other hand, the statistics also show that underage drinking is a growing problem for France.

The recent report produced by La Direction de la recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques (DREES), has revealed once again that adult alcohol consumption is decreasing nationwide. On average, 12% of French adults admitted to drinking wine, beer or spirits every day, compared to 23% in 1995.

In terms of provincial alcohol consumption, the report revealed that the Nord Pas de Calais, Pays de la Loire, Midi Pyrénées and Languedoc Roussillon regions are home to the most prolific drinkers. In a surprising turn of events, the Ile de France, where people are known for their hectic lifestyles, is one of the areas where people consume the least amount of alcohol.

The report has, however, provided some concerning news for parents across the country. The most recent statistics show that 11.2% of 17-year-olds drink alcohol more than 10 times every month. Teenage boys were found to be the worst with 15.2% of those interviewed admitting to drinking excessively. 

As reported in The Riviera Times in October, underage drinking is a major concern for French authorities. A report conducted last year revealed that 59% of 11 to 12-year-olds have consumed alcohol, whilst 60% of 15 to 17-year-olds have been drunk at least once, and 79% of 16-year-olds claimed to have consumed alcohol within the last month.

When I lived in France I lived in the Pays de la Loire and was definitely a prolific drinker at the time – in fact it was whilst living in France that the wheels really came off with my drinking.

So alcohol consumption has dropped considerably amongst the adult population but they are struggling with underage consumption.  This seems to be the reverse of what is being reported here which I find really interesting and makes me wonder why that is.  Any thoughts?

Plus my friend Libby over at Depression Lab hit 500 days hangover free 3 days ago and we met for coffee and cake yesterday to celebrate our milestones together 🙂  Her post about her big day is most definitely worth a read: http://www.depressionlab.com/500-days-without-alcohol-the-impact-on-my-depression/

Edited 21/08/2015:  more news stories about French consumption rates dropping

Less than half of French order alcohol once a week, shock poll reveals