French happy hour may be coming to an end

Using English words in France, sometimes causes a stir. Remember the French Eurovision song that had English lyrics? Despite attempts to language purity, English words and expressions still manage to make their way into la vie française. “Happy hour” is one of those expressions. The French love getting a deal on an afternoon beer, and happy hours (pronounced apee ow-uuur in a French accent) are popular. Travelers love them too, as they make expensive pints of beer — or an afternoon pastis — just a little more affordable. But the infamous happy hour is under the threat of a ban.

The French government body in charge of the fight against addiction to drugs and alcohol is working on a measure that would ban happy hours as well as the sale of vodka and other strong liquors in nightclubs in order to curb underage intoxication and alcoholism. The proposed measures are currently under discussion, but a decision could be made within a few weeks.

Government officials see the proposed ban as helping with public health, others see it as a merely “stupid measure.” “People buy bottles when they are in a group because it’s cheaper and they can last a long time on a single bottle. Does the government want people to spend their money individually to get wasted on beer instead?” said Patrick Malvaes, president of a union representing nightclub owners.

Happy hour might be under threat, but don’t worry, I am pretty sure the French government would never dream to regulate wine consumption. Just plan on making the house red your drink of choice on your next French vacation.