A guide to tipping in France: It’s not as much as you think!

How much do you tip in France? Discover the ins and outs of tipping in France with our comprehensive guide: When, where, and how much.

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  
Tipping French waiter in France
Tipping French waiter in France

Tipping in France isn’t rocket science, but it can be confusing for tourists who are not familiar with tipping etiquette and social norms in France.

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.

Facts about tipping in France and French tipping etiquette

Service compris amount should be printed on bill in France

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. 

Think of tipping in France almost like an unexpected gift and kind gesture rather than an obligation to supplement an underpaid worker.

How much do you tip in France?

In France and many European countries, tipping is more of a nuanced practice that varies by situation.

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?

Man showing his empty wallet in a restaurant

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.

i don't tip in France, the service is already included

  • Some people don’t believe tipping is 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

It's better to pay your tip in cash

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?

Money on a plate with a fork and knife

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of tipping etiquette in France, here are some suggested tipping amounts for different situations.

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 etiquette and culture, please read part one of this series, France Tipping Culture: Why it’s so Confusing And Arbitrary, which explains why tipping is more subjective and arbitrary in France than in other countries.

Tipping in restaurants, cafes, and bars

front of le procope brasserie café restaurant paris

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, tipping in France is more nuanced or intuitive.

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:

seafood platter au pied de cochon brasserie paris

Tipping in Paris is just like tipping anywhere else in France.

However, Paris is a big city, and tipping occurs more often in bigger cities.

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?

James Bond Vesper martini made with Lillet

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?

Tip Jar france

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 in France: Hotel

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 reading11 Places to Store Your Annoying Luggage Before Check-in & After Check out While Sightseeing

Hotel Housekeeping?

housekeeping woman making the bed in a hotel

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

hotel porter / bellhop standing next to his cart

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

hand holding keys out in front of a car

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?

Room service delivery food to a guest in his hotel room

Tipping for room service in France is a little like tipping a delivery person or a restaurant waiter. You can give one or two euros, but again, it’s really up to you. 

Tipping delivery people in France

Tipping Delivery People In France

With pizza delivery and food delivery services like Uber Eats, you can tell them to keep the change or give them a tip of one or two euros, especially if your place is difficult to access.

Many food delivery apps like Uber Eats in France allow customers to leave a tip from within the app based on a percentage.

Tipping Furniture Delivery Workers

Woman watching two furniture delivery men put her couch on the floor

If the furniture delivery person sweats blood and tears carrying your new refrigerator or couches up two flights of narrow stairs on their back, you may want to leave a generous tip: 5, 10, or 20 euros, depending on the difficulty of the job. They will be surprised to get one but very appreciative.

Other tipping situations

Tipping The Hairdresser Or Barber

woman getting her done at a hair salon: salon de coiffeur

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 tipping ushers is slowly disappearing.

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

taxi sign on top of tax

When it comes to tipping taxi drivers, Uber drivers and limo drivers, no one can ever decide how much to tip drivers in France.

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

Woman guiding a group of people while holding a map

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

France tipping culture

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.”

Tipping is not permitted sign in French "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

Tipping ushers in France

Unlike in some other countries, such as the United States, where tipping is a customary practice, French tipping etiquette doesn’t usually involve tipping for theatre performances.

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 tipping practices in France


  1. If you don’t leave a tip in France, no one will bat an eye or spit in your food the next time they see you.
  2. Although not expected or required, you can leave a small gratuity to show appreciation for good, great, or exceptional service.
  3. A service charge called “service compris” is automatically added to all bills at restaurants, cafés and bars (usually 15%). This service charge IS NOT A TIP. It goes directly to the owner and allows employers to pay staff a liveable wage.
  4. Because servers receive a liveable wage, there’s a lot less tipping in France. People who tip tend to leave smaller tips compared to their North American counterparts.
  5. The amount you give as a tip is at your own discretion. Everyone seems to have their own equation about who and how much to tip in France.
  6. You don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t leave a 20% tip.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a 'petite commission' at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my links. It helps me buy more wine and cheese. Please read my disclosure for more info.

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.


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