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Sep 2, 2007 07:10 PM

Tipping in Paris

I am consistently confounded by the topic of tipping in France and would be grateful for the bottom line.

We will be dining in a range of restaurants and would like to tip appropriately and well (assuming that service warrants it).

Can you advise as to what percentage of the bill to leave? Or, if there is another way to think about it, please advise.

In case there is a different answer depending on the restaurant, we will be dining at Taillevent, Salone d'Helene, Le Chateaubriand, Spring, Le Comptoir du Relais, Au Bon Accueil, l'Epi Dupin, Fables de la Fontaine, and Ze Kitchen Gallerie.

Many thanks.

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  1. Tip and tax is always included in the restaurant bill anywhere in France. Being a poor student, I've never actually tipped, but if the service warrants it, I would assume around 10% of the bill would the be maximum for exceptional service. I know in Switzerland, where the situation is the same as in France, this is the case. I have heard rumours that the servers never actually see any tips, so if you wanted to tip, I'd advise 10% as a maximum. :-)

    1. Americans are notorious for over tipping in Europe in general, myself included (i.e. our standard 15%-20%). And I say that if you can afford it, keep up the good will.

      1. When dining out in restaurants, my French friends rarely leave anything extra. They will leave the small change in a cafe.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          I found this link on the UK site "Observer Food Monthly" - it is a good guide based on the countries I know:

          As you can see in France they indicate that service is included but you should leave change (a few euros), or in "touristy restaurants" 5 to 10% and in taxis simply round up to the nearest euro.

          One problem with this guide though. When a waiter, taxi drivers, porter etc hears an American accent their expectations increase dramatically.....!

          1. re: PhilD

            Thanks for the guide! I am a bottom-line twenty percenter at home in NYC, I always ask waiters in France if service is included, and they always say yes, but my conscience won't usually let me get away with leaving around ten percent. I see that I've been doing the right thing....

        2. Thanks all for your input and thank YOU PhilD for the guide. I have printed it and will keep with my passport!


          1. I do hope that none of you think you need to tip 10 percent or more. As someone who lives in France, and often eats with French people, I can assure that that we don't do this! Sometimes a waiter will try to mislead you and tell you that service is included, but the tip is not. This is designed to confuse tourists and make you feel guilty.

            You are already paying tax and service in the price quoted - I don't see why this should have any impact on your conscience. It is polite to add a little, to round up, or whatever. But why anyone thinks they should add 10-20% is beyond me. It is not necessary, and makes things more difficult for the rest of us.