A Different Kind of High School Experience

I've sympathized with the French wine community over a variety of issues as well as mocked them over others. I think their various laws on how wine can be produced are archaic enough to hold back creativity as well as the production of good new wines.

But I've also noted the absurdity of laws that prohibit wine and other alcohol related companies from promoting their products on the net.

But here's a little tidbit that that really made my jaw drop concerning some new proposed laws. From a story detailing French winemakers' anxiety over various proposed laws comes this remarkable snippet:

At the heart of their
anxiety is a government proposal last week to raise the legal age for
purchasing alcohol to 18 from 16. Aside from hiking the legal age, the
proposal will also prohibit the sale of alcohol at highway gas stations
will not allow all-you-can-drink open bar evenings at French high

What? It's allowed now? "All you can drink" open bars at French High Schools?

I realize that the culture of drink in France is different than here in America. But are there really all-you-can-drink nights at French High Schools? When I was in High School in Novato, California, every Friday and Saturday night was an All-You-Can-Drink evening. But the High School didn't sponsor it.

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11 Responses

  1. Joel - October 29, 2008

    Home Coming would have been way more fun if we had that, I have to admit!
    Then again, the flask up the sleeve and spiking the punch bowl yielded some good moments too…

  2. Taster B - October 29, 2008

    Well, you’d have to see what goes on at those gatherings before forming an opinion but, what I think is weird is OPEN bar? We didn’t have OPEN anything in High School. Even the coffee was $.35 a cup. The High Schoolers could at least PAY for their booze. It does make you wonder what the motivation behind giving HS kids FREE alcohol is, even if it is only wine.

  3. beth - wine school - October 29, 2008

    our open bar was the back of a pick-up truck. tickle pink, crown royale, and madd dog. don’t miss a bit of it. but i wouldn’t have it any other way either.

  4. Mike Tommasi - October 29, 2008

    Binge drinking is a totally new phenomenon in France, fuelled by TV series. We are nowhere near the UK situation here, but it is growing…
    No alcohol can be consumed on any school premises, even by kids of drinking age (18). For example, even if adults organize an event on the premises of a school, alcohol is simply not allowed.
    OTOH any 18 year old can get alcohol in a bar or store.

  5. Alan Kropf - October 29, 2008

    I say go with Mexico’s de facto law: If you can see over the bar or have enough cash to cover your bill, you’re old enough…

  6. Dr. Horowitz - October 29, 2008

    All you can drink nights are just asking for trouble.

  7. mydailywine - October 30, 2008

    That same sentence caught my eye as well!
    Damn fate, wasn’t I meant to be born in Paris instead of Dallas?
    But I guess I am naive in thinking that French kids don’t binge drink since wine is not a forbidden fruit to them

  8. JohnLopresti - October 30, 2008

    When I opted to take the postgrad research to Madrid, I marveled at the construction workers, all adult men, pausing for a meager lunch sitting on the jobsite curb in a row, a loaf of frenchbread and a bottle of vino tinto. The beverage was available for 10 cents a liter in the bargain basement of the dime store, and only 1/3 of the price of cola in the vending machine. Families often traveled to bars together in the residential neighborhoods around apartment buildings. But the whole experience was quite continental and felt pervasively chaperoned. Perhaps the French are looking for ways to counter the effects of declining exports and stiff competition in the US, by encouraging youth to partake. I agree that Novato’s Friday late was a better idea. I can imagine that French professor’s history class would have seemed very different if fueled by cafeteria vin rouge. When they are adults, they might rewrite a few laws so schools are returned to the rightfully sober experience education is in most western societies.

  9. Nancy - October 31, 2008

    Any talk about European wine laws always reminds me of my senior high school trip to Europe, and the discovery my friends and I made that OMG and WTF you could drink here! Castles, cathedrals, and Mozart were all nice but the point of every day of sightseeing became the hunt for that night’s bar. The experience taught me that there is such a thing as forbidden fruit.

  10. Eli W.K. - October 31, 2008

    I never knew the laws were so lax. I mean don’t get me wrong i’ve heard lots of stories but, wow! The forbidden fruit complex does certainly come to mind. I am wondering how long these open nights have been going on, or if it has just always been that way. Sure beats a cake sale.

  11. Dylan - October 31, 2008

    I’m actually surprised by this. “All-you-can-drink Fridays?” If anyone has gone to work at an all-you-can-eat event, this event idea should sound troubling.

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