Can a restaurant refuse access to children? We will explain everything to you !

If having children does not prevent you from being able to enjoy life and small pleasures such as restaurants, the cinema, other people’s children can spoil the experience. Whether it’s lack of education or simply because a child is very energetic, they can often be noisy. But in public places like restaurants, there are many adults who are annoyed by the mere sight of a child. It’s for this Belgian restaurant forbidden to children, but in France not sure it would turn out like that. We’ll explaine everything here.

This child-friendly Belgian restaurant

This is the crazy project that Brasserie Sir Charles launched in 2018. Indeed, it is located in Nieuport in Belgium. It refuses families with children. This way, the place is calmer and there are no disrespectful children annoying others. But the owner of this restaurant, surely as much appreciated by adults without children as hated by parents, admits that he did not have an easy life. The restaurant owner said he had is the subject of many attacks and insults from children and toddlers, to him, to the place and to his staff. And it is precisely this lack of respect that pushes him to make this decision.

Since this restaurant has banned access to children, many other Belgian establishments have taken the plunge too. But of our neighbors to the north, some are envious. Indeed, French restaurateurs are tempted by this idea.

A security issue

But in 2013, in France in Antibes, a restaurant owner also had the idea. He had got himself in big trouble by not allowing children in his restaurant, but strollers. His reasoning and justification are quite conceivable actually. He stated that “Note that I have nothing against babies. But their place is not here. First, there is a security concern. In case of fire, I am responsible. Second, the people who come to eat at home want quiet. Those who have children pay a nanny to look after them; it’s not to support other people’s kids! And then, a stroller is a lost place. When the restaurant is full, which happens almost every night in season, it’s a dead loss”.

French law

If our Belgian neighbors seem to be able to ban children, in France, it’s different. Although restaurateurs can do this physically, it is still illegal. Indeed thearticle 225-2 of the Penal Code is formal on this subject: refuse the supply of a good or service to someone because of on the basis of their origin, their sex, their family situation, their pregnancy (…) represents discrimination, and is liable to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros.

Murielle Gasnier, jurist at the UFC Que Choisir declares that “Legally, it is forbidden to refuse to provide a service to a client, except for legitimate reasons. For example, in the event of a full restaurant, exceptional closure or specific evening. (…) The fact of not wanting to admit young children into one’s establishment is a discriminatory reason (age discrimination). If you have witnesses to the expression of this refusal, then you could file a complaint because it is a criminal offence. You can also report it to the fraud prevention services, and alert the Defender of Rights in charge of fight against this discrimination”.

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