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Tipping in France

Rick Steves says to tip a euro. I would like to hear from someone who lives in France what you do?

Posted by
10298 posts

Tip a euro for what?
If it's restaurants, we usually don't tip. Once in a blue moon, we'll leave a couple of euros on the table. If it goes on the credit card, it goes to the restaurant.
If it's a taxi, we round up.
I always leave a few euros for the chamber maids because they are the most underappreciated, struggling immigrants.
We live in France.

Posted by
4554 posts

Every country in the world expects Americans to tip, and in some places they strongly encourage it.

What is your particular stance on this? I happen to think it ends being a relatively small part of my trip budget and I just can't shake the need to do it. As noted, chambermaids work really hard and deserve whatever they can get (assuming their managers don't sweep into the rooms first to help themselves). Waiters, eh it's not really so hard.

Posted by
284 posts

I live in France.

I routinely tip housekeepers in hotels three or more euros a night. They earn it, in my view.

Ordering a drink or coffee at a bar? Leave some or all of the change is what I do.

Restaurants? It depends. If it's a more formal place where it's clear the waitstaff is well compensated and professional, I generally don't tip.

If it's a more casual place with overworked younger waiters, I usually leave a few euros in the receptacle near the cash register. Never on the table.

I remember going out with my co-workers in a large-ish French city, soon after I emigrated from the U.S. The one co-worker from a privileged (some might say pampered) background very much was against tipping. She didn't do it.

The others, from more working class backgrounds who got an education and moved into a more highly compensated professional field, always tipped -- not at U.S. levels, but a few euros. They knew what it was like for service workers, and now that they were in a position to give something back, they did.

Posted by
781 posts

I've lived in France for 15 years, and in that time I have probably averaged 1€ a year in tips.

Anything paid by credit card I don't tip, and thats most places these days. In fact it's almost impossible to tip using a credit card, because outside of the 5 or 6 places in Paris where they'll tell you that they don't get the service charge and will you be tipping, the staff aren't trained in how it's done. I've never tipped anyone at a hotel, and I don't take taxis. Leaving a tip for a hairdresser is just weird, it's not a culture I grew up with.

I live a fairly typical French lifestyle - I eat at restaurants a couple of times a week, usually more often during the tourist season. I occasionally see loose change sitting by a coffee cup, but hardly anyone carries loose change. I've never felt that service or a welcome is diminished because I haven't left a tip, even in places I might visit 2 or 3 days in a row.

Pleae don't start tipping, especially at US levels. Image what would happen in NY if I started tipping at my normal levels.

Posted by
6 posts

Tipping in France is not mandatory but I tip to show gratitude when the service is awesome. It goes from 1 or 2 or 4 euro to 10 or 20 or 50 euro depending on the type of service.
For example: 2 euro for food deliveries , 4 euro for a groceries delivery, 10 euro for maid, 20 euro for a guide on a free group tour and 50 euro for an excellent private tour guide.
It really depends.
I live in Paris for more than 10 years now.

Posted by
2577 posts

I rarely tip, but I do round up tabs for lunch or coffee. I probably spend less than 40€ a month in cash and most of that I spend at the boulangerie.

Posted by
921 posts

Usually we stay in apartments and never see the house cleaners, so if we tip (sometimes the owner is the house cleaner), it's done on our departure.

This next trip involves hotels, only--three of them, so I'll want to have Euros handy for the daily cleaning. We'll be in Paris, then Sarlat, then back to Paris. The last time we were in France--September--I tried to find ATMs in both Paris and Lyon to tip tour guides and had some difficulty finding them. Are there fewer than there were @15 years ago?

Posted by
800 posts

Lindy,
We have found ATMs relatively easily. In Sarlat we found one not far from the cathedral. Do you check Google maps for ATMs near you when out and about? We always opt for a certain bank so we have no question of fees (it is a big one in France) as it partners with our US bank, but we saw many banks with ATMs around the towns and cities we were in, including Paris. This was just last year.Best of luck!

Posted by
284 posts

The last time we were in France ... I tried to find ATMs in both Paris
and Lyon ... and had some difficulty finding them.

That's an interesting comment. ATMs are quite common in France. Nearly every bank branch (of which there are truly many in cities and larger towns) has one or more ATMs. Learn the names or logos of the major banks and you should have no trouble finding an ATM. Even many post offices have banks since La Poste operates as a bank in its larger outlets.

Your comment made me chuckle a bit. The first time I was in Switzerland (which was on a business trip) I had tremendous difficulty finding an ATM. Jokes about Swiss bank accounts and secrecy abounded, but I eventually muddled through.

Posted by
781 posts

ATMs (DAB in French) are plentiful - every bank branch has them, but often you have to go into the bank to use them. If the branch is open you walk in, if it's after hours (the other 23 hours of the day) you use your card to gain access. The machines are often in a foyer.

Most french banks don't physically handle cash and only do cash from machines, so machines are necessary everywhere.

Posted by
9776 posts

I almost always tip a little something - maybe 20 to 40 cents or whatever if buying a beer or glass of wine at a bar or café, a couple of euros up to something like four euros if we are a few at a table for lunch or dinner, or a 20-euro bill at a fancy place.

It is funny, because it’s embarrassing here to tip TOO much. So really just a euro and change is fine most places. (And if you don’t leave anything, they’re not going to hound you, unless you are at the worst kind of tourist trap.)

However, I concede that my view on this may be biased because my husband works in the restaurant business en salle. We know what servers are up against.

I’ve been living here 18 years, FWIW.

Posted by
423 posts

The question was about tipping in France. The answer is- Its not necessary nor expected.
I stand by my comments. Ive been to France- Italy- Sicily- Belgium- The Netherlands- Spain- Czech Republic- England- and was not expected to tip. (England :
Most London restaurants now have a 12.5% service charge in lieu of tipping. Although you can chose not to pay, I would say that’s poor form unless service has been diabolical. Black cab drivers dont expect tips either but you can “round up” to the next pound or give an extra pound for good service. The drivers own the medallion and make a great living(their own words!)
In Italy there is a “Coperto” charge on most restaurant (but not all) bills. It is a service charge. No need to tip extra. And waiters I have spoken to in Rome told me they are very well paid with over a month of paid vacation as well.
there were a few servers in Italy who asked if I wanted to tip since they assumed I was “American.”
And there are many posts on other forums including this one saying in Europe tips are not expected and that servers make a living wage. So my comments are based on my travels and other traveller’s comments on this forum, fodors, and trip advisor. I agree that you do learn by travelling and researching. And Ive learned that tipping in the Countries mentioned above is not required. Not interested in a Sherlock Holmes investigation ie: who, what,and where on the forum