How should I tip? That is the question.
This post will give you some invaluable tips for your first (or next) trip to France and how to know if you should leave a tip or not, and if so – how much.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not, but there is an unspoken rule around tip etiquette in France. Unlike in America, tipping is not obligatory in France. Here in America, our hospitality-related employees rely on their tips as their main source of income since they typically receive a very minimum hourly rate. Tipping in France, however, is much different since a 15% gratuity is included in the total amount of the bill (by law) at every café, restaurant and bar.
In France, employees in service-related roles such as waiters/waitresses, drivers, tour guides, bellhops, etcetera make a decent wage. They also often receive other perks such as medical benefits and paid time off. They do not depend on tips for their day-to-day living.
Tipping a Waiter or Waitress
So you have just finished a delightful meal and you ask your waiter for the “l’addition” (bill). But then you need to know what to do about a tip… It is customary, if you received great service, to leave just a euro or two per person. But, if you leave nothing at all – they will not think anything about it. That is perfectly acceptable.
If you just have a drink, a coffee or something small like a croissant, you can simply round up to the nearest euro. (This is why you should always have a small amount of cash euros for these types of scenarios).
NOTE: If you wish to pay by credit card, you should let your waiter know that you want to pay by credit card so he/she can bring their cc machine with them to the table. Most of the time there isn’t an option to add a tip on the machine, so if you want to leave a tip but don’t have cash, let your waiter know to add the amount of tip before he/she runs your payment.
Tipping Your Driver
Again, tipping is not required for your taxi or private driver, however, if they help you with your bags, you may want to leave them a euro or two. When we fly into Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport, we use Welcome Pickups and have been so happy with their service. I schedule a driver for our arrival as well as our departure before I even leave home. I highly suggest arranging this prior to your arrival. We typically give our driver €3 – €5 per person.
Tipping at Hotels
When we travel, we are pretty self-sufficient and don’t rely on others to help us much. But there are many services that you can take advantage of if you wish; Bellhops to handle your luggage and take it to your room, room service, daily housekeeping services, and concierge service in your hotel.
Here are some suggested amounts by service:
- Bellhop: €1 per bag
- Room Service: €2 – €3 per person
- Daily Housekeeping: A few euros depending on how much they have to do (how messy are you? lol)
- Concierge: If you ask them to book a tour for you, or perhaps a dinner reservation, it is nice to give them up to €5 per service. Again, this isn’t required, but if they are very pleasant and get you off the hook for calling a restaurant to make a reservation (in French), then they would be grateful for a little tip.
Tipping for Tours and Classes
When you book a tour, gratuity is usually included. You can confirm with the tour operator or the booking confirmation if gratuity is included or not. If it doesn’t specify or if it states gratuity is not included, then 15% is a decent amount of tip if you enjoyed the tour and the tour guide.
On our last trip to Paris, my husband arranged a surprise 2CV tour of Paris which I absolutely LOVED! (For those of you who are wondering what a 2CV is, it is an adorable little French car that I’m longing to own one day. It’s also the cute little blue car you’ll see on French Daisy). Our driver was such a delight and kept us laughing the entire time. We gave him a €20 tip as it was well deserved.
The same applies for a class. We took a cooking class with Le Foodist in Paris (which I HIGHLY recommend) and we left a 10% tip each because we were so happy with all the things we learned. It far exceeded our expectations and we thought it was worth tipping.
Summary – tipping is not required, but if you received great service, they will appreciate a small tip as a token of your appreciation for their service to you.
Allons faire un tour…