09/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

French Teens Develop Taste For Binge Drinking

For years, the French have dismissed out-of-control teenage drinking, like hooliganism, as "a British disease". France, it was said (by the French but by us, too), had the right approach to alcohol and kids: start them off young, in early adolescence, with a glass of watered-down wine at family meals. That way they grow up understanding that a drop of Burgundy or Bordeaux over dinner is, generally speaking, preferable to 15 pints down the pub. France, we thought, had mastered the art of moderate drinking: being falling-down drunk was neither cool nor sexy; alcohol was just one of the many components of the great Gallic social experience; and leglessness was not synonymous with fun.

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