Kate's Blog

Why I Love Being Sober In France

I’m on holiday in France, a country often associated with wine.

When I first quit drinking, the idea of staying alcohol-free during trips like this seemed crazy. In early sobriety, it was so hard to get my head around the idea of being sober in France! I worried I’d always feel as if I was missing out.
Fortunately, a LOT has changed since then.
Nowadays, I couldn’t care less about the romanticised, rotting fruit juice they love so much in this country. I can see through the marketing hype! Alcohol-free living is awesome no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
This week’s video is about why I particularly love being sober in France. I hope it inspires you!


The breakdown:


Not drinking means you’re more flexible and open to new experiences

Travel is expensive and it’s important to make the most of every minute. When you’ve travelled hundreds of miles, you don’t want to waste time being hungover or being preoccupied by where your next drink is coming from.


Being sober in France means you can really appreciate your food

Alcohol numbs and dulls your taste buds, so if you love food, you’ll love sobriety! Don’t fall for any of that ‘you must drink wine with your food’ nonsense. Giles Coren (a food critic) has written a brilliant article about that here.


You have so much more energy!

When I’m travelling, I like getting up early to beat the crowds. And I love exploring new areas on bike tours or walking tours. Last week I did a running tour of Paris (it was amazing – I posted a pic here.)


Church bells

What can I say about this… they love church bells in France! They seem to ring out several times a day and often early in the morning. I know if I was drinking, I’d be so irritated by something like that! Sober, it just seems a quaint part of the travelling experience.


Better memories

Holidays are supposed to be about making memories – but sadly, alcohol robs you of them. When you’re using booze to blur the edges of life, you blur a lot of other stuff as well. You dull the highs as well as the lows, so you can’t truly appreciate the good times in life.


Let me know…

Would you consider leaving booze behind on your next trip? Perhaps you’ve done that already – what were your experiences? If you need any help to make sobriety stick (and actually feel good about your decision) check out my online coaching programme here.


Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


64 responses

  1. So inspiring! I have had a few AF holidays in the past and they’ve been some of my best. I don’t know why I went back to drinking – I think I was much happier before. Feeling ready to change and planning a sober September.

    1. It sounds as if you’ve learnt a lot from your experience of going back to drinking – and sometimes, that’s an important part of the journey to AF living. Enjoy your sober September!

    2. Ditto. I’m currently AF for the past 6 weeks, I’ve been to Scotland twice and thoroughly enjoyed being in control of my life. I feel free and healthy for the first time in years. I have relapsed again and again but this time I feel strong.

  2. I went to Bordeaux, France this past summer for our annual family trip and even though wine/rose was all around me I tried to focus on the food and the fun. I had no hangovers, lots of energy and it was a great trip. Plus I remember the whole thing!

  3. Hi Kate,
    You had a list of great books to read but somehow I lost that email! Could you please repost? Thanks for all your great messages – you have been such a huge help to me:)

  4. Hi Kate. I’ve just returned from an AF hol to Alsace – a really ‘wine-y’ part of France (and also travelling through beer-y Belgium!)It was a different experience but I can definitely say a better one! Me and my hubby nearly always end up having alcohol fuelled rows on hols s it was great to avoid these x

  5. Thanks for the article link and for the great video. Keep up the great work, Kate. You provide support for countless of us all over the world struggling to live life better each day. J in Iowa, USA

  6. Hi Kate and happy travels!! Great seeing you in the video and hearing the info and support I received in Sober School. I doing well, staying sober and enjoy my happiness and energy. I had a sober birthday in NYC and saw Kinky Boots on Broadway with my kids. All good things are happening! Cheers to a sober life

  7. I just love all of your bloggs, they’re always inspirational and definitely resonates so well with me. I really want to try the af living but so far keep getting called back to the wine. Tomorrow will be day 1 of me giving it my all though as all the times I go back just reaffirms why I want to stop.

    1. Keep going Julia! I know it’s hard when you’re trying to figure this stuff out on your own. If you need some help to make sobriety stick (in a way that actually makes you feel good about being AF!) then I’d be happy to help. My next online course starts in October – perhaps you could join us? It’s six weeks long… and a LOT can change in that time! Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  8. Thank you Kate, you are so inspiring and I am definitely moving forward to a sober lifestyle , have a great time in France xxx

  9. I went to beautiful Paris and Nice and drank lots of wine by which I regret now as I could have done so much more with my time in the places I love so much

  10. Wow – great video. You are so right that when I was drinking it consumed my mind daily – I wouldn’t even go to an event unless it revolved around me being able to drink. I thought about my wine every day. I have been sober 6 months and appreciate all the things you talk about. Thank you

  11. Enjoyed watching your blog Kate… you’re amazing and I take my hat off to you!
    As Cait said above in the comments, I have also been to Nice two weeks ago and I drank wine and enjoyed myself probably too much! We caught the train to Monaco and I’m sorry to say drank more wine with lunch there… I can’t imagine not drinking at all, let alone on holiday…. trying to get my head around it as can’t carry on like this. Have made a GP appt for next week!

    1. A GP appointment is a great start – some GPs are incredibly helpful, it just depends a bit on what is available in your area and how long the waiting lists are. My online course could also be a good next step for you, if you want to focus on how to enjoy sobriety (rather than seeing it as some kind of punishment or like being on a diet). There’s some more information about my class here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      1. Thank you Kate xx
        I think my GP will be helpful…. I’m going to be 100% honest and lay my heart on the line in order to get proper support. I will look at your link thank you x

  12. Perfect timing. After being sober for 21 days it was time for our vacation. And I thought that perhaps just a glass or two of wine would be ok because, of course, it’s vacation. So the first night I had two glasses of wine. In all fairness, that’s all that was available. I didn’t sleep well that night and had a bit of a headache…but that didn’t stop me. The second night I had 4 glasses of wine. I don’t remember eating dinner or getting ready for bed. Woke up with an incredible headache st 3 am and those old familiar nervous feelings that keep me awake until morning. Today is day 3 if my vacation and it will be AF, as will the entire rest of my life. I don’t miss wine. I thought I did, but I now know beyond a doubt that life is better without it. Thanks, Kate. Your blog soothes my soul.

    1. That’s the problem with moderation – it always sounds so doable but it just isn’t. Trying (and failing) to moderate makes people very unhappy indeed. AF really is the way to go. Enjoy the rest of your holiday Anna!

  13. Love the video! I’m yet to travel abroad anywhere since being sober but I am excited to experience the hangover free mornings, the greater memories etc. Only been away camping in the English countryside this year which used to be fuelled with lots of alcohol. It was spent reading until the sun disappeared and then spending time having pleasant loving conversations with my partner. 14 months sober 🙂

  14. Thank you so much, KB. I’m only a month into my newly sober life, and am enormously grateful for you sharing so honestly and openly about your own journey. It gives me a lot of hope that my “new normal” is going to be great. Yay for sober adventures in Paris!

    1. It will be great! AF living is hardest in the early days, and then it keeps on getting better and better. Congratulations on your 1 month sober, here’s to many more 🙂

  15. Lovely video Kate. I will be heading to Paris next year with my savings from being AF. Can’t wait to see it this time with sober eyes.

  16. Have now had 2 AF trips away and agree so much with all points. Thanks for the tip about getting out early, it obviously works….have never seen Paris looking so quiet!

  17. Inspiring and moving thank you … I had been sober since Dec after doing stop October and then reading The Naked Mind in November… During the summer I decided to try to moderate. Which was going well ….until August , it was a significant birthday and I decided to relax and drink a bit more. Several hangovers later and reflecting on all I have read, following you and totally believing alcohol adds nothing but takes away I committed yesterday to a life of sobriety …. Thank you for your posts and your inspiration. I am now looking forward to an AF trip to Majorca so this article was well timed for me..

    1. Sometimes those experiences of going back to drinking can be an important part of the journey – the moment when you realise that you really are missing out on nothing is very important. I wrote another blog about moderation that you might find useful, just in case you start feeling tempted again: https://thesoberschool.com/control-drinking/
      Good luck Anne 🙂

  18. On December 24th I had my last drink, there is nobody more surprised than me I have stop the wine, thank you for help and advice. Not drinking give you the time to stop and smell the roses

  19. Thanks for a enjoyable morning watch My time.
    I am trying my best give up this habit. So I’m a new face to your most positivity bloggers. Hi all and I will continue to watch and will do your program too.

  20. Thank you once again ! You have been a amazing help to me . I am going on vacation in October and was concerned about not drinking . This reinforced my decision not to drink on my vacation . It will be my first vacation with no Booz and I am excited about it !

    1. An alcohol-free holiday is a massive upgrade – it’s the only way to have a truly good time, in my opinion. Drinking means you waste so much of your hard earned break. Have fun!

  21. All of that really resonates with me. Particularly the part about church bells being seen (heard) in a new light, and also the part about food being so much more enjoyable. I’ve heard that it’s a marketing ploy from the wine industry before, and that’s absolutely true.

  22. I just completed “Getting Unstuck July 2018”. My husband and I just went to Las Vegas for a getaway. I felt like I had so much more time! I didn’t have to spend the greater part of the day lying in bed sleeping off the night before. I woke up refreshed and ready to enjoy myself! I even exercised while on vacation. That’s a first. Thanks for this great program Kate!

    1. I’m so pleased to hear this Aimee! Your trip to Las Vegas sounds amazing – alcohol free living clearly suits you 🙂

  23. I am headed to Paris in November. Feeling pretty great about my ability to avoid alcohol now, but France without alcohol . . . I mean, it’s FRANCE!
    My former self would not have even considered a trip to France without drinking to excess. Today, I see that as a real possibility. That’s progress! Thanks for your encouraging video.

  24. Hi there, I just came across your website.
    I really appreciated this post. I’m a big wine-lover (I don’t drink anything else), and the thought of going to my favourite destination, France, without drinking, terrified me.
    I’m also off on a 2 week trip to Thailand in a week’s time for a friend’s wedding, and I know it will be boozy.
    I have been sober for 3 weeks because I have been dieting, and the further I get from my last drink, the better I am feeling.
    I’m still scared though, scared to stop drinking all-together.
    I mentioned giving up to my husband this morning, and he says he prefers me when I don’t drink. I knew this inside, but it sounds strong when he says it like that.
    I’m still on the fence however. The thought of not enjoying wine terrifies me!

    1. I understand completely! If it helps you on your journey, I will say with each day of being AF, I know this trip of mine to France will be completely sans booze. These are words I NEVER thought I would say. My vice is wine and my trip to France sounds like going into the mouth of the devil. Each day that passes that I don’t drink is like stored bullets of ammunition. Consecutive AF days are empowering and make me more ready to kill this big Tiger I face. Now, I can truly see this time in France for what it truly is–quality time with family and friends. It shouldn’t have been about me boozing it up all over Paris to no good end.

        1. Absolutely! My sober journey started with this same post. Kate’s class is great. Good luck to you–believe me, I hit the wine as much or much more as the next gal. If I can do it, I know you can too. 🙂

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