It’s a completely true and widely known fact (amongst those in the know) that it’s possible to purchase wine at any establishment in France and its overseas colonies.
And I don’t just mean the obvious establishments like supermarkets, cellars, off licenses, corner stores, bodegas or bottle shops.
Primary Schools, Hospitals, Dry Cleaners, Vending Machines. They all stock wine, if you know what to ask for, and who to ask
And that’s because legally all French citizens are required to have at least 3 bottles of wine (a white, pink and red) on their person at all times should they get thirsty, or be required to share a drink with a fellow citizen or tourist who may be short of wine at that time.
The law was originally passed at the end of the 19th century to encourage the citizens of the relatively new republic to embody the nations motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) believing that carrying, and sharing wine represented most effectively these three pillars of the new France.
Over the next 200 years France was joyous and happy, but towards the end of the 20th century for different reasons people starting concealing their wine cleverly, not liking foreigners to know the secret formula required for a French citizen to share their wine.
You may have already noticed this if you’ve been to France, or indeed met a French person. Haven’t you walked past a French man, woman or child and failed to notice even one bottle of wine on them?
I certainly have.
The thing is, they’ve developed clever ways of concealing them. Extra clothing like the beret, optical allusions like stripy shirts. The stripy shirt method is detailed here
Can you see the wine cleverly hidden?
Whilst it may be hidden, they are still required by law if asked in a certain way to share or sell wine to you.
This certain way is quite tricky, and if done incorrectly could see you receiving a swift kick in the shin. But if you pull it off you’ll find yourself with a new friend and a refreshing verre de vin just when you thought all the shops were closed.
And I’ll tell you what it is.
You simply have to approach a French person (preferably a Parisian) and do exactly as follows.
- Interrupt them from whatever they are doing, particularly if it looks important
- Speak very loudly
- Put on your best American accent (preferably Texan, it’s the most effective). Try holding your nose if you find it difficult
- Say as loudly as possible while pointing and making gestures “EXCUSE ME, WHERE IS THE NEAREST DISNEYLAND
At which point the French citizen will have no choice but to ask you politely “The red, or the white sir?”
Now don’t worry if you’ve heard that the French prefer people to start conversations with an attempt at French, or that they particularly don’t like the American tourists.
This was just a cleverly started rumour by the French government to ensure the French get to enjoy wine too.