Do You Tip in Paris? Unveiling the Secrets of ‘Croissant Gratuity’ and ‘Eiffel Tower Tipsy’!

By John Goldsmith •  Updated: 10/31/23 •  5 min read

Paris, the city of love, lights, and culinary delights. As you plan your trip to this enchanting destination, there is one question that may linger in your mind:

Do you tip in Paris? Tipping practices vary across different countries, and understanding the cultural differences can help ensure a smooth and respectful experience while dining out or availing other services.

Do You Tip in Paris?

Tipping in Paris is not mandatory, but it is appreciated for good service. A tip is typically referred to as a “pourboire” in French.

Here are some general guidelines for tipping in Paris:

If you are paying by credit card, you can leave a tip in cash or ask the server to add it to your bill.

However, some restaurants and cafés in Paris now have card machines that allow you to add a tip to your bill directly.

It is important to note that tipping culture in France is different from other countries, such as the United States.

In France, waiters and waitresses are paid a living wage, and service is already included in the bill.

As such, tipping is not seen as a way to supplement their income, but rather as a way to show your appreciation for good service.

Ultimately, how much you tip is up to you. However, following these general guidelines will help you to tip appropriately in Paris.

Understanding Tipping Culture in France

In France, tipping customs differ from those in other countries.

There is a common misconception that tipping is not necessary since service charges are often included.

However, it is essential to realize that while tipping may not be obligatory, it is still appreciated by certain service industry workers.

Understanding and respecting local customs plays a significant role when it comes to navigating these cultural nuances.

Tipping Guidelines for Restaurants and Cafés in Paris

When dining out at restaurants or cafés in Paris, it’s important to note that most establishments include a service charge (‘service compris’) in the bill.

This charge covers gratuity for the staff. However, if you receive exceptional service or pay with a credit card (which doesn’t always go directly to waitstaff), leaving a small additional tip is considered customary.

The appropriate amount to tip typically varies depending on the dining experience.

For casual cafés where you order at the counter (‘comptoir’), rounding up or leaving spare change is sufficient.

In upscale restaurants where table service is provided, leaving 5-10% of the total bill as gratuity is generally acceptable.

Tips for Tipping Taxi Drivers, Tour Guides, and Drivers-for-Hire

In certain service situations, tipping is expected in Paris.

For example, when taking a taxi ride or availing private transfers, it is customary to tip the driver.

The suggested amount for these services is around 10% of the fare.

If cash tips are not common or convenient, you can also show appreciation by offering snacks or water.

Similarly, when going on guided tours or hiring drivers-for-hire, it is customary to tip the guide or driver as a token of appreciation for their service.

A recommended percentage to tip in these cases would be around 10-20% of the total cost.

Understanding Service Charges at Hotels and Accommodations

Hotels in Paris often include a service charge (‘taxe de séjour’) in the bill.

This charge covers various services provided during your stay, such as housekeeping and concierge assistance.

While this additional fee may already account for gratuity, leaving an optional additional tip for exceptional service from housekeeping staff or concierge services is always appreciated.

Special Considerations for Tipping at Cafés and Bars

When it comes to tipping at cafés and bars in Paris, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

It’s not customary to tip bartenders when ordering drinks at bars unless they provide exceptional service or go above and beyond their regular duties.

However, if you opt for table service at Parisian cafés instead of ordering at the counter (‘au comptoir’), leaving a small gratuity (around 5-10% of the bill) is considered polite.

For counter service, rounding up or leaving small change known as ‘au comptoir’ on the bar counter is sufficient.

Cultural Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts of Tipping in Paris

While navigating tipping situations in Paris, it’s crucial to prioritize cultural respect.

Overtipping can be seen as excessive and may even embarrass locals who do not engage in such practices.

On the other hand, undertipping can be interpreted as rude or disrespectful.

To avoid any unintended consequences, observe and learn from locals’ etiquette.

Pay attention to how they handle tipping situations and follow their lead. When uncertain about tipping practices, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and leave a small gratuity to show appreciation for the services rendered.

Final Word

Understanding and respecting French tipping customs is essential when visiting Paris.

While it may not be obligatory, tipping is still appreciated by certain service industry workers.

By familiarizing yourself with the guidelines mentioned above, you can navigate these cultural nuances with ease and ensure a smooth and respectful experience during your time in Paris.

Embrace cultural differences, explore local customs, and let ‘Croissant Gratuity’ and ‘Eiffel Tower Tipsy’ enhance your journey through this enchanting city of lights!

John Goldsmith