Traditions - General Info Section
Tipping in France - Recommended Guidelines
To tip or not to tip, that is the question!
Tipping can be quite a headache when traveling abroad.
Customs can vary dramatically from a country to another, but they also evolve.
They evolve because more people travel and introduce snippets of their own culture wherever they go!
It’s great in one way, however, it also makes it more difficult to know what to do as all is mixed up!
I often find it hard when it comes to tipping abroad.
However, one thing I know, is about tipping in France.
Tipping in France
I’ll have one motto: ‘In France, do as the French’.
However, you wonder if you should leave a tip to the airport porter, the taxi driver, the groom who takes your suitcases to your room, the tourist guide who show you around and of course the waiters in cafes and restaurants?
But, first of all, let's be clear!
1- You should know that in France, tipping reflects above all your satisfaction and therefore your gratitude for a service rendered.
This means that if you are not satisfied with the quality of a service, don’t feel that you have to leave a tip!
You'll find below basic guidelines for tipping in France.
However, these apply to standard establishments (tourist hotels, restaurants and cafes etc ...)
2- Therefore, if you sojourn in 5* hotels and eat at Michelin restaurants, your tips will be in harmony with the price of your room, suite and dinner.
They’ll have to be generous, and only you, can decide on the tip!
That said, if you are among the lucky ones staying in luxury establishments, you won’t need any advice about tipping, nor will have done a search for this article by the way!
So, let’s go back to the common man, or should I say, the common visitor, who stays at nice standard establishments and budgets his holidays!
My tip for tipping in France:
Always have some small change before arriving in France.
This will indeed spare you from leaving astronomical tips that will make you come across like a simpleton or a billionaire!
Tipping in France - Airport and train station
Let's start there, as it is most likely where the holidays will start for many of you!
You hire the services of a porter?
In addition to the fixed price you have to pay per piece of luggage, your porter also expects a €1 tip per luggage.
You hire a car and the valet brings it to you? He expects a couple of Euros.
Tipping in France - Hotel
1- You arrive at the hotel, and the groom takes your luggage to your room.
The recommended tip is 1€ per baggage.
2- Your holidays come to an end, you say your goodbyes and leave the hotel; you don’t need to leave a tip to the chamber-maid.
This was once the custom, when holidays abroad were reserved for the 'elite' and when each hotel floor was looked after by the same chamber maid.
That said, this can still happen in small family-run hotels, in province or in small ski resorts.
In that case, you can live the chamber maid a tip, in cash and directly in hand, she'll be delighted.
Let’s go back to your hotel in town.
3- You order room service? The service waiter expects a € 2 tip.
4- The concierge helps you book a restaurant, a tour, a show... give him a generous tip, because the concierge is your best friend!
In fact, he is more than a friend, he is a magician; he indeed has privileged access to most places and can get hold of anything for you!
The recommended tip is 10% of the value of the tickets he unearthed 'especially for you'.
However, it can be anything you are ready to pay as an appreciation of his service.
5- The doorman finds you a taxi?
He’ll be delighted with a 2 € tip, and will always go out his way in order to assist you.
Tipping in France - Taxi
The taxi driver takes you safely to the address you gave him, or better, he beats the traffic and drives you on time to the airport so you don't miss your return flight.
What tip should you leave him in that case? About 10% of the amount displayed on the meter.
On a 'normal ride', round to the higher Euro, or simply tell the driver to keep the change, however don't be mean!
Tipping in France - Restaurant
In France, prices include all taxes and service; that will add between 10% and 15% to your addition.
Therefore, you don’t have any obligation to leave an additional tip to the waiter/waitress.
That said, if you think that he/she was very friendly, professional and went out his/her way, you might want to show your satisfaction.
The amount of the tip is up to you, but the custom is between 5% and 10%.
I advise you, however, to give him/her cash to be sure he/she gets the tip.
Restaurant owners have the legal obligation to redistribute the tips paid by credit card to their staff, but sadly some don't respect that law!
The service was appalling? Don't tip!
Dining in a luxury restaurant? The cloakroom and restroom staff will expect a € 1 tip.
You have a drink at the bar, leave a 10% tip; you enjoy a coffee in a bistro, leave the small change.
Tipping in France - Tour guide
You booked a guided tour?
Tour guides spend time sharing their love of their city or local attractions, and tirelessly answer all your questions.
Some people reckon that you have to leave 10% of the value of the ticket; I don't agree, as this can seriously inflate your budget.
Therefore, I always advise to leave € 1 per person, it's a good compromise; not too bad actually if each visitor leaves such a tip!
Tipping in France - Going out
You booked tickets for the Opera, theatre or any show? The usher expects a € 2 tip per person because she/he is paid at the tip.
Tipping in France - Summary
These are guidelines, but not strict rules.
Once again, keep in mind that a tip reflects your contentment and gratitude for a service.
A tip is not a due, it has to be deserved.
That said, the staff working in the various jobs related to tourism are very professional.
You can always come across the exception that proves the rule, however, this is quite rare.