So, if you’re wondering whether or not you should tip that French taxi driver or the super-friendly French waiter, read on.
After reading this guide, you may want to read about Why French tipping culture is so confusing and arbitrary.
tipping in France and French tipping etiquette
Do You Tip In France or is it rude?
Yes, you can tip in France, and you won’t offend anyone if you do, but if you leave too big of a tip, you may embarrass someone or get puzzled looks.
And if you don’t tip in France, no one will call you bad names under their breath or come chasing after you because no one expects a tip.
How much do you tip in France?
In France and many European countries,
When someone does leave a tip, it’s usually a euro coin or two euro coins, and not based on a percentage. And when someone does give a tip, it’s nowhere near 10%, 15%, or 20%, like in the US or Canada.
This simple concept confused me at first because it’s not a black-and-white answer.
Why are tips in France so much lower than in other countries?
If you’re wondering why tips are so much less than what you may be accustomed to, it’s because French service industry workers are paid a living wage.
A liveable wage in France is minimum wage and above. As of 2022, the minimum wage in France for a 35-hour work week is 1645.48 euros/month (1 302.64 euros net).
Minimum wage in France is called SMIC which is an accronym for “Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance” (guaranteed minimum growth wage).
This is in stark contrast to service industry workers in other countries, such as the United States, where workers rely on tips because they earn below minimum wage, i.e. a liveable wage. For example, in some U.S. states, waiters and waitresses can earn a salary as low as $2.13 per hour. Without tips, they couldn’t survive.
Still, the minimum wage is never a huge sum of money if you consider the cost of living, so tips are very much appreciated, especially if you’re raising a family.
Why Some French People Don’t Tip In France?
As the old saying goes, different strokes for different folks. Some French people don’t tip. I neither condone nor condemn this practice. I’m just stating a fact. The reasons why someone might not leave a tip in France are wide and varied, but here are some possible scenarios.
- Some people don’t believe
tippingis necessary if a 15% service charge (service compris) is added to the bill. (This service charge is actually not a tip. It goes directly to the owner, who uses it to partly pay a liveable wage to all employees.
- Credit card machines in France are not built to add tips automatically. So, if someone has no cash in their pocket, they won’t leave a tip.
- Sometimes people are cash-strapped or cheap.
- Young people often forget to leave tips.
- If you receive bad service, the belief is you should never leave a tip in France. Not even a one-centime.
Tip with cash, not a debit or credit card
In North America, it’s easy to tip with a credit card. There is even a space for you to write in the tip amount, which can be added at any time.
In France, you can’t do this. Once your server swipes your card, you can’t ask them to add a tip.
They have to first cancel the transaction. Then, you have to tell them how much you want to tip so they can key it in manually and re-swipe your card with the tip added to the total.
That’s why it’s better to have a few coins or cash on you at all times so that you can leave a tip.
Another thing to keep in mind is it may take several weeks for the owner to disperse the credit card tips to the servers.
Who and how much do you tip in France?
Now that you’re familiar with the basics of
Keep in mind, unlike in North America; there are no hard and fast rules about how much to tip. It’s more of a personal discretion. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
*These are just suggested amounts.
For more information on France’s
Tipping in restaurants, cafes, and bars
In North America, when the waiter drops the restaurant bill at your table, most people will automatically calculate the tip based on a percentage, usually 15 to 20 percent.
As I mentioned earlier,
For example, if your bill at a French restaurant is around 13 to 25 euros, it’s pretty normal to leave a one-euro or two-euro coin. There’s no hassling with percentages.
If you’re dead set on leaving a tip in French restaurants based on a percentage, you can do that, too.
- 2% to 5 % for good service.
- 10 % for great service.
- 15 % to 20 % in nicer restaurants where someone has given you exceptional service, but not if the service was terrible.
- If you’re with a large group, a small tip of one euro from everyone in the group is an easy way to express gratitude for serving so many people.
Tipping In touristy Paris Restaurants:
Tipping in Paris is just like
However, Paris is a big city, and
Also, because so many tourists, especially Americans, leave big 20% tips in touristy restaurants (especially in touristy Parisian restaurants and cafés), some French waiters have grown accustomed to bigger tips.
But just because someone expects a big tip doesn’t mean you should.
My Parisian friend scolded me when I left a 10 euro tip for a 65 euro bill at a popular Paris restaurant. She grabbed the ten euros from the table, put five back in my purse and left 5 euros on the table for the server. She said it was too much for average service, bordering on bad, and giving servers such a big tip sets a bad precedence for locals.
You might be interested in reading: Ordering Steak in France: Rare, Medium Rare, to Well-done Steak in French.
Tipping At A Café Terrace
Having an aperitif or espresso coffee at a restaurant terrace is a quintessential part of French culture.
Most people agree that it’s a “keep the change” situation where you leave some of the small change you get back when paying with cash or round up to the nearest euro.
For example, if your coffee and croissant cost 2.50, you could leave.
- 10 centimes (4%)
- 20 centimes (8%)
- 50 centimes (20%) if you’re feeling generous.
You might be interested in reading What Is A Brasserie, Bistro, Café & What’s The Difference? A France Dining Guide
Do You Tip Bartenders In France?
Leaving some small change behind after paying in cash is a nice gesture to show appreciation.
But again, in my experience, it’s not uncommon for people to not leave a tip, especially if paying with a card.
You might be interested in reading 27 After Dinner Drinks: The French Love To Drink (Digestifs / Digestives)
You might be interested in reading 77 French Apéritif Drinks Explained: A Mini Guide to Pre-dinner Drinks.
Do You Tip In France For Take-Out Or Fast Food-Type Restaurants?
In a casual restaurant where you order your meal and take it to your seat or to go, you may see a tip jar sitting on the counter.
If I have some coins in my pocket, I’ll usually drop in some change, but not always.
Tipping hotel staff
Tipping housekeeping, the porter, bellhop or other hotel staff, might be common in the U.S., but it isn’t always automatic in hotels in France.
Still, it is always a nice gesture to tip a few euros to hotel staff, especially if they’re accustomed to receiving tips from other tourists and if they went over and above the line of duty.
You might be interested in reading: 11 Places to Store Your Annoying Luggage Before Check-in & After Check out While Sightseeing
Housekeeping always gets the least amount of love and tips. Out of sight, out of mind.
If you want to leave a gratuity for their hard work and effort, leaving a tip of 1 to 2 euros per day is a nice gesture, especially if you were a slob or left a huge mess. If you threw up all over the bathroom, you might want to leave a 20 euro tip for housekeeping with an apology letter.
Did you know it’s better to tip housekeeping daily rather than at the end of your stay so that the person who actually cleans your room will get the tip? If you tip at the end of your stay, the last person who cleaned your room will get the entire tip
Tipping Hotel Porter / Bellhop
A tip of 1 to 2 euros per bag is about the going rate.
If you’re in a super deluxe hotel, maybe 2 to 3 for the first bag and an extra euro for each additional bag or suitcase.
It’s also nice to leave a tip to the hotel staff when you store your luggage at a hotel before you check-in or after you check in.
Tipping The Valet
Tipping the valet a few euros to run and fetch your car isn’t commonplace in France.
However, if the valet went above and beyond the call of duty, for instance, he/she ran to get your car, fetched your luggage, loaded it in the boot of your vehicle and turned on the A.C. or heat for you, giving 5 or 10 euros is a generous tip.
Do You Tip For Room Service?
Tipping for room service in France is a little like
Tipping delivery people in France
With pizza delivery and food delivery services like
Many food delivery apps like
Tipping Furniture Delivery Workers
If the furniture delivery person sweats blood and tears carrying your new
Tipping The Hairdresser Or Barber
At a hair salon or barber, you can leave a small tip of a euro or two.
Your tip will go directly to the person who cut your hair, or it might get shared with other staff.
Tipping the Masseuse Or Esthetician
A tip of 15% to 20% at a health spa or esthetician is considered very generous. Some businesses have a small envelope for you to leave a tip where you can write the name of the person who helped you.
Tipping The Washroom Attendants
If you see a tip jar in a washroom where there is an attendant, you can leave some change as a tip.
Especially if the bathroom was clean, fully stocked with paper towels, and the bathroom attendant was helpful.
Tipping The Cloakroom Attendant
At concerts, nightclubs, and theatres, you can tip the cloakroom attendant around one euro.
However, if you had to pay for the cloakroom, the tendency is not to leave a tip.
Tipping An Usher
A decade ago, it was customary to give ushers tips because it was well-known that they survived solely on tips.
However, more and more ushers now have salaries; usually, minimum wage and the custom of
If ushers are paid solely on tips, you should see a sign saying so.
Michelle, who works as an usher at Théâtre de la Michodière (a private theatre), says a tip of 50 cents is too small. One euro is good, but several euros is better. Not having change is no excuse because ushers can give you change—her words, not mine.
Be careful; only tip ushers in a private theatre. Giving tips at a public theatre is not permitted in France.
Tipping Taxis And Other Drivers
When it comes to
Here are a couple of scenarios.
- You can leave 1 to 5 euros, depending on the length of your ride.
- You can also round up to the nearest euro or tell the driver to keep the change.
- If the driver performed a miracle or went above and beyond: helped you with your bags, opened your door, had water waiting for you in the car, or did something out of the ordinary like got you to the airport in record time, then you may want to give a little bit more based on a percentage of around 5% to 15%.
Tipping Tour Guides In France
Tipping tour guides is not automatic for most people, especially in France.
However, if you feel like your tour guide did an exceptional job, or the tour was long and thorough in a good way, you could always leave a few euros or 10% of the total price of the tour.
When You See A Tip Jar
Sometimes, you may see a tip jar in unexpected places.
For instance, in some small French shops, such as bakeries and butchers, the workers will put out a small tip jar. It’s okay to leave a few coins or whatever you have in your coin purse.
You might be interested in reading Pocket dictionary: 200+ types of French shop names in France, businesses services, too
Where, who, and when not to tip in France
Don’t Tip When You Receive Bad Service!
In some cultures, when you experience bad service, you leave a smaller tip or leave a coin. “Yeah, that’ll teach them a lesson for giving me bad service.” Not so in France.
No one will even blink if you leave a tip of 1 Euro instead of 15%. The server might even be pleased.
So don’t leave a tip if you received terrible or rude service.
Just be careful; what you may consider lousy service may be considered good service in France, so learn the customs.
Don’t Tip Health Professionals.
You do not leave a tip for people in the health industry.
This includes dentists, acupuncturists, sports therapists and physical therapy.
Don’t Tip If You See A Sign That Says “Pourboires Interdits.”
In rare cases, you might see a sign that says “Pourboire Interdit” or “Pourboires Interdits,” do not leave a tip. This means that tips are not permitted.
Tipping theatre performers
Unlike in some other countries, such as the United States, where
So do not leave a tip in public theatres, including municipal theatres, national stages, and cultural centers especially if they are subsidized.
Tipping at restaurants and for different services in France doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here is a summary of the important cultural nuances of French