There is a law in France that states that you can bring your own bottle of wine to a restaurant. The restaurant cannot prevent you from doing this. Thus, you can either bring your favorite wine, or a cheap bottle of wine without having to worry about getting ripped off by the house. Despite this law, will bringing your own wine to a restaurant cause problems? I'm imagining the chef or waiter spitting in my food because I'm not buying their wine, or perhaps giving me bad service in some other form. After all, they're not making a profit on it and my tip must be less because my bill is lower.

This Wall Street Journal piece has some good guidelines, but I won't be able to, as the article states it, "Get to know the place first" because I'll be moving from one place to the next. Also, I really may not want to visit the same place twice because there is so much to do.

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    I'd go by Gilles' answer below; in addition to it, and as an amendment to your question, consider that tipping is not compulsory in France, so there is no direct connection between your idea of bringing your own bottle and the tipping option.
    – Paola
    Aug 19, 2013 at 8:28
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    In general, in the French customs (at least I do like that), don't bring to a restaurant/bar/café an item they sell. For example, I consider it would be tolerated to eat your own sandwich in a café where only drinks are sold (and yet I would not feel so comfortable).
    – Vince
    Aug 19, 2013 at 9:44
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    Do you have a reference for this being legal in France?
    – Bernhard
    Aug 19, 2013 at 10:04
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    I had to do some serious digging to find this. By serious I mean that I don't speak French, but I was visiting French websites. This article asks whether or not one can do what they want with the bottle of wine and the answer is (rough English), "Yes, From the moment the customer bought a bottle, he has every right to win at the end of the meal. However, we think that if the bottle is subject to a point, the operator may charge a fee to the customer." Or condensed, 'Yes, but this is rude. Buy the restaurant's wine and avoid corkage fee.' Aug 20, 2013 at 5:46
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    The article mentioned in the comment above merely states that it is at the restaurants discretion. The restaurant may choose to allow it, and may ask a corkage fee, which it can set at any level. Aug 20, 2013 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


I'm French and I didn't know about this law, nor can I find any mention of it in a casual search. This site with teaching material for the restaurant business claims the contrary:

Can we make a customer pay a supplement if he wishes to bring his own bottles?
Yes, it is possible to charge a “corkage fee” if the customer wants to be served his own bottles. The restaurant owner is free to set the amount. Restaurants are not required to accept this practice.

BYOB isn't a known concept in France. A few restaurants are trying it out (here's a list for Paris), sometimes with a corkage fee. But it goes strongly against the French culture — why not bring your own food while you're at it?

If you go to a random restaurant, you should expect that they'll say no. I doubt that they'd spit in the food (what a strange idea!), but they might ask you to leave.

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    BYO isn't really a known concept in Europe at all. Most restaurants rely on their wine (and beer) sales to turn a profit, so bringing your own is just not done. Aug 19, 2013 at 10:20
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    @KristvanBesien In many Indian restaurants in the UK particularly those in Birmingham, which have no alcohol licence, everybody brings there own beer, lager and wine.
    – Simon
    Aug 19, 2013 at 11:20
  • I was actually in France briefly when a guide mentioned this to me. If what the guide stated was contrary to fact then thank you for posting this! Let me do some research to see if I can find that law. If I can't find anything I'll accept this as the answer. Aug 19, 2013 at 23:53
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    I do not know any french people who brought his own bottle of wine in a french restaurant. Or even thought of doing it. Don't do it.
    – Nikko
    Sep 5, 2013 at 12:38

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