Local Customs in Paris, Tipping
Paris, one of the most popular tourist destinations of the world, is capital city of France and one of the most famous cities in Europe. As it is often known for its food, it would help to be well versed in tipping in Paris establishments and other local customs before visiting.
American Custom vs. French Custom
In the United States, it is widely understood that tipping in addition to one’s total fare is not only a sign of appreciation, but expected by those providing the service. This includes at restaurants and bars, hair and nail salons, in taxis, and for many other locations and services. In Paris, and France in general, it is not customary to do so. Often times, tipping is included as a percentage of the goods that are offered and purchased, such as food or beverage items at a restaurant. French law obliges every kind of tax and tip to be included in the final price of the bill at restaurants and cafes. Therefore, wait staff is adequately compensated for their work and do not rely on tips like American wait staff do. So it is rare amongst residents to receive or leave a tip at a food establishment. French locals beg Americans to resist the urge to tip–they do not want that custom to become their custom.
When you go to restaurant or cafe in Paris, look at the menu – “Servis Compris” should be visible somewhere on it. This means that tip is included in the total cost of the tab, so additional tip does not need to be included. Usually the tip included is at a cost of between 10 to 15% of the tab. Sometimes it may be specifically noted on the final bill – “Prix Nets – Service Compris … 15%”, so one does not have to pay any extra. Also if your receipt has a total and a VAT (IVA) after it, tip is already included.
Tipping in France is called “service” and is most often included in your restaurant prices and hotel rates. With that said if you are a patron, do not ask a waiter if “tip” is included – instead, ask if “service” is included. Otherwise they will state that “tip” is not included and you will ultimately leave them 30% in tip instead of the American customary 15%!
When Tipping is Acceptable
If you experienced an exceptional service or meal, it’s fair to round out the bill with some small change if paying cash. Even adding 1 or 2 Euros is a nice way of saying thank you. However if you are paying with credit card, there is no need to tip. And definitely do not tip if you do not have good service or enjoy the food at a restaurant.
It’s rare but if service is not included, usually tip 15-18% of the fare. This is true of a taxi service, for example. Hairdressers expect tips of about 10% of the fare. Porters, doormen, and room service may also be offered a small gratuity, though not usually as much.
Remember not to over tip in Paris; it is actually considered vulgar!
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about tipping in Paris and other local customs.