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LIVING IN FRANCE

The French drunks who prove that France is embracing binge drinking

Whoever said the French only drink in moderation obviously never read a local newspaper.

The French drunks who prove that France is embracing binge drinking
Don't believe that a Frenchman will sip these in a sophisticated fashion. Photo: AFP

The English may claim to have invented binge drinking (or beuverie express as the Academie français insists it is called in France) but the adventures of French drunks are many and varied, and have even inspired a Facebook group dedicated to their antics entitled Ivre il, inspired by French newspaper reports on the subject which generally begin Ivre, il . . . (drunk, he . . .)

You probably remember this 2013 drunken odyssey of a young Brit who started his evening in Manchester and finally woke up in a Parisian toilet. 

But many French people have also overdone it on the apéro.

Back in 2013, Bordeaux inhabitants woke up to this unusual and surprising headline from the local newspaper Sud Ouest: Ivres, ils volent un lama et lui font prendre le tram – Drunk, they steal a lama and take him on the tram.

The five drunken students had been walking by a touring circus on their way back home from the club in the early hours. They spotted caged animals and decided to take a lama called Serge for a walk. They wandered in the streets for a while and ended up hopping on the tram, accompanied by their new friend.

The five young men finally tied the lama, unharmed, to a street lamp before running away. They were arrested a few minutes later and put in custody. The circus owner initially filed a complaint, but soon withdrew it considering the unexpected regional enthusiasm for the animal.

Serge gained an international media career from the adventure, he was invited to a football game between Bordeaux and Nantes and made many TV appearances.

This epic adventure was followed by many other French drunk champions making local headlines for their madcap drunken deeds. 

Also reported by Sud Ouest, a drunken young man dared showing off his best imitation to local authorities.

Ivre, il imite un poulet devant les policiers – Drunk, he imitates a chicken in front of policemen.

The drunk teenager drew the policemen's attention on purpose, before cackling and imitating chicken gestures:  a daredevil impersonation considering French policemen are nicknamed les poulets – chickens – and are usually not very fond of it.

The newspaper Ouest-France also offers quite a collection of such headlines.

Rennes: Ivre, la retraitée confond la voiture de police avec un taxi – Rennes: Drunk, a retired woman mistakes a police car for a taxi.

Around 1am, policemen were patrolling the streets of Rennes on foot. When they came back to their car, a 74-year-old drunk woman had taken a place in the backseat, mistaking the vehicle for a taxi. The policemen were willing to take her home before she refused to give her address and insulted them. She was driven to the nearest hospital.

Haute-Loire: Ivre, il se trompe de logement et boit une bière en caleçon chez sa voisine – Haute-Loire: Drunk, he gets the wrong house and drinks beer in his underwear at his neighbour's place.

The 30-year-old man was sitting on the couch in his underwear, a beer in his hand, when the woman who occupied the house found him on a Sunday morning. When the police arrived, the man claimed he lived there.

As reported by La Montagne, the man was so drunk he did not realise he mistook his neighbour's house for his, three doors down. He humbly apologised as soon as he came round.

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