Tipping in France: When, Whom & How Much You Should Tip


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Tipping is not as common in France as it is in many other countries, including the US or the UK. In fact, tipping in France is very relaxed for all concerned. This is because service charges are usually included in the prices for restaurants, hotels and other services in the hospitality industry.

Although leaving a tip is not mandatory in France, it is still always very appreciated. So should you tip in France, and if so, whom and how much?

There are a few unique subtleties and differences in how French people tip, so it is worth knowing them before you are in a situation when you may want to leave a tip.

Nice France

Giving someone a tip, called un pourboire in French, is definitely a stress-free affair in France and you will not be considered rude if you do not tip at all. Having said that, tips are usually just a modest amount.

As such, giving someone a large tip is definitely going ‘against the grain’ of French etiquette as it will be considered as flashy and ostentatious, It is far better to keep tips on the low end compared to other countries.

In France, those working in the hospitality industry do not rely on tips like in other countries, where the wages for service jobs are low and income is topped up by tips.

In 1985 the French government passed a law stating that all employees would be paid the mandatory minimum wage and would be given paid holidays, sick leave and other benefits.  However, it is still nice to be able to show appreciation to someone who has given you particularly good service.

In France the amount that you leave as a tip does vary depending on the type of business and the level of service it usually gives its customers.

Montpellier France

Tipping at hotels in France

  • Bell boys and doormen: 1-2
  • Housekeeping: 5-10 per week
  • Concierge: 5-10

The advice for tipping in hotels is very straight forward. If you have been pleased with someone’s service, they will appreciate a small tip. For bell boys carrying your bags to your room, a tip of €1- 2 per bag is usual. If a hotel doorman has hailed a cab for you, it is nice to show your appreciation with a one euro tip.

If your room has been kept nice and clean throughout your stay, a tip of €5-10 for up to a week’s stay will certainly be appreciated by the housekeeping staff and will be something nice for them to find on the pillow when you have checked-out.

Giving the hotel concierge a modest tip is also appropriate if they have helped you arrange restaurant reservations, theatre bookings or with other services.

Tips in cafés and restaurants in France

  • Not required. 15% service charge is included on bills
  • Casual cafes: Round up to the nearest euro
  • Fine dining restaurants: up to 5-10%

In France, it is law that all types of restaurants in France include a 15% service charge on the bill. You will see the words ‘service compris’ on the menu or on your bill and this simply means ‘service included’.

If you are just stopping for a drink at a small café, the usual practice if you would like to tip is to round the bill up to the nearest euro. For example, if your coffee was €2.60, then it would be appropriate to leave €3.00 on the table. The price of the drink does already include the service charge, so tipping is entirely up to you.

If you are in a casual restaurant or bistro, leaving a couple of euros as a tip is perfect. If, however, you have been dining at a fine restaurant which offers guests exceptional personal service, the unwritten rule is that a tip of 5-10% of the bill would be appropriate.

In French restaurants there is no option when paying by credit card to add a tip, so it is best to always have some cash to leave on the table.

Man drinking expresso and water

Tips for taxi drivers in France

  • Not required. May round up to the nearest euro.
  • Long trips: 5%
  • Bags: 1 per bag

Although it is not mandatory, most people using a taxi like to tip the driver and the ‘rule of thumb’ is to round up the fare to the nearest euro. For longer journeys, a tip equivalent to 5% of the fare is normal – especially if the taxi driver has been helpful.

If there has been luggage to deal with, a tip of €1 per bag is the norm – and €2 for anything particularly large, heavy or unwieldy.

Taxi Paris France

Tipping hairdressers, barbers and beauticians in France

Most customers do tip their hair stylists usually by rounding up the amount they are paying or one euro. Interestingly, if it is the owner of the hair salon who has cut your hair, they should not be tipped! Likewise, if you are visiting a beauty salon and they have made you feel really good, it is customary to round up the bill – there is often a box for tips.

There are nail salons in every town and city in France. Although it isn’t expected, you can round up your bill if you are delighted with your nails! On the other hand, you do not have to worry that you will be thought of badly if you decide not to tip.

When you shouldn’t tip in France

Occasionally, some places do have a sign saying ‘pourboire interdit’ – tipping forbidden. If you have recently moved to France, you may wonder whether you should tip trash collectors and postal workers at the end of the year. It is actually illegal for them to request a tip.

Workers employed in one of these services may knock on your door around Christmas to sell you a calendar – which is in lieu of a tip. This is the method usually used by the local ambulance service too. The important point is that armed with this knowledge, if someone knocks on your door wanting a tip, you will know straight away that they are being fraudulent.

Tipping is a common practice in many countries but is one the varies considerably from place to place. This means that in some places you can unintentionally make a mistake, so it is best to be informed.

This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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