In America, we have a pretty strong tipping culture. We know that people working in service industries rely on our tips to supplement their income, so it’s par for the course that we tip 15, 18 or even 20 percent at the end of a meal. When traveling abroad, tipping can cause some confusion; when are you supposed to tip, is it considered offensive to tip, how much should you tip? Here’s a quick guide to tipping in Paris.
Do you tip in restaurants in Paris? The answer to this is more complicated than you would think. First, in France, the waiters don’t rely as heavily on tips as their American counterparts to make ends meet. They are paid more than in the US, although their pay is still usually minimum wage. Secondly, restaurants include a ‘service fee’ on your bill, you’ll see it written at the bottom as ‘service compris’ which leads most of us to believe that the waiters are earning a specific amount of money from your bill, which isn’t strictly true. Usually the money goes directly to the restaurant owners, who are expected to pay their waitstaff with it. Because of these things, tipping in French restaurants is kind of a mixed bag – it’s certainly not required like in the USA but it is appreciated.
If you are satisfied with the service you received, tipping 5-10% is completely fine. Many people choose to leave one to two euros per person as a tip, others round up their bill to the nearest even number, and some just don’t tip at all. In fact, the number of French citizens who tip is on the decline. Use your discretion when tipping, no waiter will turn up their nose at your extra euros on the table and many won’t think twice if you don’t leave anything.
Taxis don’t require a massive tip but again, they are usually appreciated. Rounding up to the nearest whole number is considered acceptable, otherwise 5-10% is good.
In hotels, tipping is not required but it can be a nice gesture if someone has gone above and beyond to assist you. When a porter brings your luggage to your room, it’s customary to give a small tip and you can also leave a couple of euros for the housekeeper.
It is acceptable to give a 5-10% tip to your hairdresser if you had great service, but again, not a requirement. There may be a tip jar, or you could round up your bill
It is customary to give 1 euro to an usher that shows you to your seat at the theatre or Opera.
A final note:
Tip Jars are becoming quite common in Paris, lots of small coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants have them – be on the look-out! The long story short of this article is that no one is going to be offended in Paris if you try to give them a little bit of extra money for doing their job. There’s no hard and fast answer, even asking the French themselves you will get mixed answers on if tipping is required or not. If you feel called to, go ahead and tip! You do not, however, have to tip nearly as much as you do in the United States, but don’t expect the same level of customer service in Paris, regardless of if you tip or not!