Not sure who or how much to tip? In Paris, like most other cities, there is a tipping culture which is useful to know about before you travel. The Paris Perfect concierge team offers their advice on tipping etiquette and French culture to guide you. What do they recommend for new travelers to the city? Read on to find out what and who you should and shouldn’t be tipping in Paris.
Guide to Tipping in Paris
How much should you tip your server?
Service is actually included in your bill. However, a tip of 5-10% is appreciated. Of course, you may tip more for exceptional service!
Must you tip every time?
It is polite to tip your waiter/waitress. However, bills in France include a service charge, and any extra is discretionary. The staff doesn’t rely as heavily on tips as they do in the US, for example. If anybody has gone out of their way to give you exceptional service then tell them directly; they will really appreciate it. In most restaurants, the tips get shared within teams. Leaving behind a small note or change is standard when dining out, as it goes to the kitchen and all the team involved. That being said, if you have a relatively simple meal with minimal or no service then tipping in Paris is subjective. You decide if you’d like to leave change behind or not.
Should large groups be tipping in Paris?
As large groups do create work for kitchen staff and waiters alike, it is usually quite customary to leave a decent tip behind. Just a small gesture from every member is enough.
Do you tip if you’re having something small?
In brasseries and bars, there are usually tip jars if it is not expected. But, if you have enjoyed a long, sunny afternoon sipping coffee on a terrace then you can always leave the small change you get back from your euros.
Do taxi drivers, tour guides, hotel porters, and concierges get a tip?
Tipping in Paris is customary for hotel porters. They do expect a little something for their efforts, as do concierges when you feel they have given an additional service. Do so at the end of your stay. Taxi drivers are usually on a rate, but for longer trips, you can suggest to round up the total of the journey. You should always tip tour guides.
Is there any cultural information travelers should be aware of before their vacation?
The French love their lunch. Be aware that it is sometimes quite difficult to eat outside of lunch hours between 12pm-2pm. If you are just wanting a coffee at these times you may be refused or kicked out to let the hungry Parisians enjoy their long lunch. Luckily, there is always a boulangerie open nearby, but try to stick to the strict meal times. Also, you may look for restaurants that have service continu, which means there is continuous meal service.
Are there any actions that may be impolite in French culture?
Not acknowledging people as you walk into establishments or events, as well as rude or vulgar gestures aren’t appreciated, even as a joke. Do not suggest that produce from elsewhere is better than that made in France!
How do you show courtesy and respect in a social setting?
Say “Bonjour” on arrival to establishments. The staff will really appreciate this. Otherwise, you may be addressed with an ironic bonjour of their own to underline your rudeness! Also, the pronouns vous and the tu can be quite complicated to master, but a genuine effort goes a long way. Offer to shake hands or if you are feeling European go in for the bis, which is the very polite kiss on both cheeks when meeting almost anybody.
What are absolute no-nos?
Don’t walk into anywhere and sit straight down. A definite no-no!
For more information on French etiquette read ‘How to avoid a faux pas in a French restaurant‘.
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