An excellent question. Before I really quit drinking, I found myself traveling through Spain with 10 days under my belt, only to be undone when I crossed the border into France. Within hours, I found myself ordering wine at a cafe in Biarritz. I couldn’t wrap my head around not drinking in France! So I did. Spoiler alert: It was exactly the same as drinking at home. Except when I’m in France, there’s the bonus possibilities of losing my passport and being hungover during a spectacular vacation.

A Second Chance

Picnic with a view of the Eiffel TowerFor his 40th birthday, the husband chose a trip to Paris. This time I had nearly two years sober. I was confident not even the siren’s call of gallons of cheap Beaujolais would steer me wrong.

3 Alcohol-Free Paris Foodie Experiences

Paris, being wonderfully French and all, actually has more things going for it than a place to drink cheap wine.  It’s true!  There’s art, architecture, fashion, romance, and best of all, tons of food. During this lovely autumn week in Paris, I found plenty of gourmet and foodie experiences to look forward to that don’t involve alcohol. Here’s a list of some of the things I found:


Hot chocolate and dessert from Angelina (Image from

Hot Chocolate at Angelina

After walking around Paris, you’ll need a little pick-me-up.  I did anyways, and just as I was beginning to sag after hours of walking, the husband dragged me into Angelina, a legendary teahouse and dessert shop. Order the thick hot chocolate (and a dessert!) and instantly feel revived.  Maybe from all the sugar!

Angelina Salon de Thé, Pâtissier, Restaurant

226, rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st, France


Tea at the Grand Mosque


The Grand Mosque (Wikicommons)

Paris, like all great cities, is deeply layered with cultural influences from all over the world.  A visit to the serene Grand Mosque is perfect place to sip mint tea, nibble almond cookies, and ponder our connected world. They also serve (reportedly excellent) full meals.  Combine a visit with the Le Jardin des Plantes which is right across the street.

Grand Mosquee of Paris

2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris, France

Rue Cler & picnic in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower

display of cheese french food market

All the cheese!

Rue Cler is a fabulous market street only a few blocks from the extensive lawns of the Champ de Mars. For a perfect afternoon, pick up supplies and then stroll over to the Champ de Mars for some people watching and a picnic.  What’s more French then leisurely slathering brie on a baguette while bathing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower?

Rue Cler, 75007 Paris, France

Need more proof you can combine travel with not drinking in France?

I’m not the only one who went to Paris and didn’t drink. Check out these links:

Kate, from The Sober School, is Sober in France

Author Robert J. Hughes’ article On Not Drinking In France

Planning a sober trip to Europe and want more inspiration?

Check out this article on exploring Amsterdam.