French Friday – tipping

French FridayMy husband gets asked this one all the time, so I thought I would cover this topic. Do you tip in France?

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The answer is, no. Not really.

At restaurants, the government already includes a 15% service charge on your check (listed as seriv compris). So it is unnecessary to add additional money. If you are paying in cash, and receive change back you can leave a few coins can be left as a sign of appreciation to your server.

For instance, at a cafe, two expressos could be something like 3.60 Euros. If you pay 4 Euros to the server, he will give you back 40 cents and you could leave that. For lunch or dinner, you could leave a couple of Euros extra. If you pay by credit card, you can either leave nothing or if you have a few coins, feel free to add it to the tray.

But seriously, do not feel like you are going to piss off the server if you leave nothing. Unlike the United States, waitstaff are professionals with salaries, they are decently paid and make a good (and sometimes excellent) living.

A few other tipping situations:

– If you ever going to the theater, you will be escorted to your seat (usually by women). She will expect a pourboire (tip) which is usually 1-2 Euros per person.

– In hotels, you do not have to tip the valet

– You should tip your taxi driver 1-2 Euros

There you have it!

A bientôt !


  1. Christophe
    July 24, 2009

    Excellent summary Andi 🙂

    Though I'd say that you will piss off the server if you don't give him anything at all. There's a good reason for that: Americans are famous in France for being very generous. Maybe a little bit less nowadays because of currency conversion, but still. You guys have a reputation here 🙂

    My personal point of view, being French. I tip anytime I can (hairdresser, valet, taxi driver, just to name a few). At the end of the year, it won't really have any impact. But obviously if you really feel the person in front of you doesn't want to work, then no tip 😉

  2. Ava Pierce
    July 24, 2009

    I'm always quite spoiled by the fact that "un pourboire" is not absolutely required when I'm in France. Admittedly, I still leave something for helpful vendors, wait staff, and other service people, no matter where I am in the world. I didn't know about the theater though; thanks Andi!

  3. Jules
    July 24, 2009

    Yet another reason to move to Europe!

  4. La Grenadine
    July 25, 2009

    In France, we often tip the hairdresser. =)
    But now, people tip less and less.

  5. Susan
    July 26, 2009

    Good tip! (no pun intended). You don't tip in Ireland either, I found that out the hard way.


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