"Smoking in France (by a non-smoker, cough! hack!)" France Warnings Or Dangers Tip by sheldon_j

France Warnings and Dangers: 123 reviews and 77 photos


First, sorry smokers. I must be the non-smoker that Bill Hicks couldn't stand when he called them "a pack of whining little maggots." You two-pack-a-day readers will be completely in heaven in France. On every second street corner there's a "Tabac" with a huge variety of lung-busting paraphernalia.

But if you're a sensitive non-smoker from a place where smoking is not too common (guess that's me) then be prepared at certain times to put up with constantly watering eyes and sore throats (and smoky clothes) while in France.

First impressions count: at the baggage carousel at Charles de Gaulle airport half the people waiting are madly lighting up a smoke... Inside the airport?

EVERYONE SMOKES!!! Okay, maybe not everyone, but it seems that the majority do, meaning that at times France can seem quite "non-smoker unfriendly". Yes, there's "Defense de Fumer" (No Smoking) signs out in various places, signs which are often ignored. Restaurants are required by law to have "non-smoking sections", but these aren't much benefit to the non-smoker - you're not gonna be miraculously protected from the smoke right next to you by some magic 'pane of air'!

All I'm saying is there's not much you non-smokers can do about it. Just be prepared for such a situation. Heck, it could be worse, like you could be in Turkey, or China, or Indonesia, or somewhere like that where the smoking is much worse.

Still, I found the constant plumes of pungent Gauloises in my face and eyes to be a constant annoyance. I lived with a smoker while in France so I guess that made it worse. If you've an eye for detail then just observe the mountains of cigarette butts that cleaners sweep up daily in malls and public spaces. Yuck.

Useful phrases:

"Pardon, mais je ne fume pas..." - Sorry, but I don't smoke.

"C'est vrai, il n'y a pas de cendrier ici." - That's right, there's no ashtrays here.

"J'ai juste l'un poumon" - I have just one lung.

"Combien de goudron preferez-vous?" - How much tar would you like with that?

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  • Updated Oct 6, 2003
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“where's the pisshouse in this joint???”

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