This post explains tipping (gratuities) for services in Paris, what is customary, and what is not.
We explain why tipping is expected, plus who to tip, how much to tip, and advice to make the tipping practice easy for you. started!
WHY TIPPING IS EXPECTED
Tipping is a nice gesture and the customary act of giving some extra euro (or gratuity) to someone who has provided a service, for example, a haircut provider or hairdresser at a salon, waitstaff in bars and Paris restaurants, concierges, housekeeping staff, luggage handlers or valet in hotels, and taxi drivers.
Figuring out how to tip in a foreign country can easily be the most stressful part of your vacation.
Of course, everyone wants to tip fairly or even generously, but over-tipping looks flashy and sometimes culturally insensitive.
Luckily, in Paris, the tipping etiquette is pretty straightforward.
Unlike in other countries, e.g. the U.S., service workers in France are guaranteed a living wage, complete with benefits and vacation time.
In addition, there is a 15% service charge attached to all food and drinks, although this does not go straight to the worker, it generally helps fund the benefits.
All of this means that in Paris, a tip is used purely as thanks for good service and also encourages the receiver to avoid bad service.
WHO (AND HOW MUCH) TO TIP?
Here are some of the most common occupations that you will encounter that rely on tips, along with the standard tipping amount for each:
For normal rides in Paris, a small tip of €1¬-2 or just some extra coins is appropriate. If it was a long ride (like from the airport), or you had heavy bags.
Not only taxi drivers, but the uber driver and the delivery person also deserve a small tip for the great service.
If you weren't satisfied with the trip or had your suspicions that you were taken a long way round, feel free not to tip at all.
For coffee or drinks, it's usual to just round up the price, somewhere between 20 centimes and €1 per drink.
If the cafes or bars are particularly busy, or you want the bartender to remember you, bump it up to a few euros. And bartenders really do remember good tippers!
Most of the waitresses working in these small bars and cafes depend largely on the service they receive as tips. For them, you can leave the tip money on the tray without making it obvious.
In French theaters where you go to enjoy opera, music concerts, dance shows, or other plays, there is a large number of theater ushers who assist in conducting these shows and maintaining attendance.
If you experience great service from an usher, it's encouraging to give a small tip.
Tipping is not considered etiquette by French people in French restaurants, but if you enjoyed your meal, it's nice to leave 5 - 10%.
If you really enjoyed the meal, or plan on returning to the restaurant and want the wait staff to like you, 15% is a generous tip.
Also keep in mind that if you put the tip on your credit card, the server will probably never see it. It's always best to tip in cash.
Room Service - 15% of the total bill, but make sure it is not already included in the bill.
Concierge - €1-€4 for useful information and time spent assisting you. You can also consider leaving one large tip to walters or hotel porters at the end of your stay.
Bellhop or Doorman - €2 minimum with €1 for each additional bag.
Housekeeping - €2 to €4 per night for each person in the room.
Most tour companies pay their guides an hourly or per-tour salary. But the guides for Free Tours by Foot do not receive any compensation other than tips from guests.
This guarantees that your guide will be working hard to give you the best tour experience possible.
We do realize that travelers are on a budget. That is why our tours are offered on a pay-what-you-like basis.
It is free to join our tours (but please make a reservation). At the end of a tour, you decide what your experience was worth.
The beauty of our pay-what-you-like system is that you can factor in your budget, the length of the tour, and the quality of the tour when deciding how much to tip, or if to tip at all.
Guests of Free Tours by Foot Tours tip, on average, a minimum of €5-€7 euros per person.
You can certainly tip more if you have a fantastic time. We think you will!
SOME TIPS ON TIPPING
Carry €1 bills
Have small bills handy for when you are ready to tip.
If you only have large bills, tipping gets complicated. It's awkward to ask for the large bill to be broken so that you can leave a few euros.
Tipping for large groups
Many restaurants include the tip for parties of 6 or more, so check your bill.
Avoid double tipping
Be sure to read your bill at restaurants before you leave gratuities, especially if you are in a tourist district.
Many restaurants are already prepared for tourists who leave insufficient gratuities and automatically add in an 18% service charge.
Look for the words "Service Included" for example.