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Tipping High End Restaurants in Paris

I saw a thread a while ago, but now can't find it. What is the recommended tip at high end restaurants in Paris? We're doing lunch at Le Cinq and Pierre Gagnaire and dinner at Guy Savoy. Don't want to overtip, but don't want to be cheap Americans... Thanks.

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  1. It is the same as medium or low-end places: You round up, except that you also tip the sommelier separately.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Hi Parigi,

      I am heading to Paris tomorrow and still confuse about the tipping issue. Did research online and some internet articles recommend 10% in Paris. I know tipping is a personal thing but would like to know local custom. Similar to above, I will be having lunch at L'Arpege and dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean. Do you tip extra if you do tasting menu where more courses are served? I am not a drinker so probably one glass of wine per meal. What is standard tip for the sommelier?

      Thank you very much for your help!!

      1. re: alice38

        IMO internet sites tht say 10% in Paris are often written by waiters or ex-waiters. In Paris service is included in the bill so a tip is a modest show of appreciation. A few euros in most places and rounding up a bit in top places but nothing like as high as 10%.

        1. re: alice38

          If you have just a glass of wine, no need to tip the sommelier extra.

          In a starred resto, DH tips the sommelier 5% of the bottle price, and even up to 10% when the advice is extensive and complex, and the result a revelation.

          I agree 10% as SYSTEMATIC tipping is considered quite high in France.
          Most diners tip less than that. As everybody upthread agrees, most people just round it up.

          But tip more if you feel the waitstaff gives you an experience out of the ordinary, and you are grateful.
          Tip less or none otherwise.

          "tipping, there really is no need and it makes it bad for us regulars"

          I beg to differ. Tipping is a measure of the diner's pleasure, not a sense of duty, especially not a sense of duty toward other diners, local, like me, or not.

          1. re: Parigi

            How do you tip sommelier separately? Do you like say, this is for sommelier?

            1. re: Monica

              I would hand it directly to the sommelier.

      2. Please don't go mad with the tipping, there really is no need and it makes it bad for us regulars

        2 Replies
        1. The tip is included in the price of your meal. However, if your waiter has provided you with a good experience and good service, a few extra euros is appreciated but not required. Enjoy Paris!!

          1. Got it. Thank you all for the responses. Off to enjoy the city and great food :)

            1. While l used to round up, now with credit cards being accepted everywhere here, l rarely even do that. One in 10 times the service is exceptional enough a add a bit, again just a bit.

              18 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                What I find amazing is the number of people on this board who refer to "rounding up". Who pays with cash? I leave a few euros, up to about 3% (on recommendation of my French friends), if I happen to have them on hand and enjoyed the meal, but since I pay with plastic, if I don't have the change available I just don't worry about it. Perhaps if I could add this to the credit card bill I would "round up".

                1. re: rrems

                  A french friend who works in London leaves some by rounding up or leave cash but from my estimate close to 5%. You can leave something if you like the service by asking them to put a higher amount on your plastic. For example if bill was 47 euros, you can easily say 50 before they put it through but I am not 100% if it would go to the server in question or pooled or to the owners.

                  When I had dinner at Pur and Tallivant, the service were excellent at both that if I was tipping in Canada or US I would have tipped 25%+ so added 8-12%

                  1. re: rrems

                    "Who pays with cash?"
                    I'd guesstimate that 14.28% of the folks I dejeune with, French or American, pay with cash.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      We pay for essentially everything with cash. DH abhors giving 3% to Visa when he can get cash from an ATM at same or better rate with no translation charge by using another card. It does mean walking around with a wad, but we anticipate our day and plan accordingly. This doesn't mean that if we fall over something irresistible in a shop that is more than we are carrying that we don't pull out the Visa.

                      And, yes, as Jock says, it's best to always leave any tip in cash.

                      1. re: mangeur

                        FYI, there are credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees, and give you at least as good a rate as you get from an ATM.

                        1. re: rrems

                          I pay with card. And I round up. In cash. Non-issue.

                          1. re: rrems

                            Absolutely. DH is a happy camper as things are and hates opening new accounts. As they say, "not my problem". ;)

                            1. re: rrems

                              Yah but if you're like me you need miles from a branded Visa (for upgrades and status) not Capitol 1 as I learned to my chagrin.

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                Merchants hate credit cards because they always have a 3 to 5 percent merchant fee. Those miles for you always come at the highest merchant fee and therefore higher prices to everyone. I for one always try to pay in cash because I would rather see the merchant make the extra.

                                If you got the fee differential and the extra 3 to 5 percent that you pay on virtually everything because merchants are forced to accept the cards you could save enough to pay for your "free" flights and then some.

                                1. re: jock

                                  "If you got the fee differential and the extra 3 to 5 percent that you pay on virtually everything because merchants are forced to accept the cards you could save enough to pay for your "free" flights and then some."

                                  Fee differential, yes. But merchants don't kick back the 3 to 5% when you pay cash. At least Macy's and Bon Marche don't.

                                  1. re: mangeur

                                    "But merchants don't kick back the 3 to 5% when you pay cash." A few do but my argument really is that we all might be better off with no plastic or at least if merchants priced in cash and charged extra if one chose to use plastic.

                                      1. re: jock

                                        merchants like to complain about card fees but believe me there are many benefits to accepting plastic that more than offsets the merchant fee, for example, customers are likely to spend more when paying by card, less cash laying around for employees or others to steal, less need to keep change around - guess what banks charge for providing rolls of coins, also those armored cars you see driving around delivering cash are not free, cards provide a way to secure a reservation in case of no shows, could probably think of a few more.

                                        1. re: f2dat06

                                          Found when in food retail, only way to jump a sale from $20 to $80 was CC, far less 'pain'

                                    1. re: jock

                                      Jock, I'm not up to argue, but I need miles and while Capitol 1 gave me free tkts, it didn't get me upgrades or 1K. You're correct that merchants don't like them, but look around at all the adjacent tables, at least at the joints I go to, with all French folk, and they are paying that way.

                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                        Guess it is the ex-merchant/restaurateur in me :)

                                    2. re: John Talbott

                                      Used to be true for us until the merger. :(

                          2. Even when using plastic and regardless of the amount, I always try to tip in cash both in Paris and in the US. The servers appreciate it and, frankly, so do the restaurateurs.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jock

                              I would venture a guess that a tax hating Frenchman is not a lot different than a tax hating USA restaurant owner. Bringing to mind the old US habit of "skimming", cash in the pocket and a few missing "le additions".

                            2. Keep one thing inmind:

                              When French people dine out, they never tip. They sometimes put a few coins (monnaie) on the table, but don't even do that at a fine restaurant.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: lemarais

                                "They sometimes put a few coins (monnaie) on the table, but don't even do that at a fine restaurant."
                                Leaving a coin on the table is tipping too.
                                And the French do that in fine restaurants. That's how I found out one tips the sommelier separately. We were very young and did not know what to do. Monkey saw, monkey did. We not very subtly peeked at what hte neighboring table did.
                                The then prime minister tipped, and separately.
                                Or did not tip, but left coins on table.
                                And did not tip, but pressed some things into the sommelier's hand.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  And "French people" are about as homogeneous as, say, San Franciscans or New Yorkers or Britains.

                                  1. re: mangeur

                                    In Paris I round up if the service is adequate, more than round up if it's good, don't tip if it's lousy - which happens more often than it should.

                                    Outside of the capital, I had lunch in a little town in Burgundy a while back with some Parisian friends. We paid separately,and neglected/forgot to leave a tip. We were standing outside afterwards when some locals who had been at a neighbouring table buttonholed us for not leaving anything.

                                  2. re: Parigi

                                    It was a lot easier pre-cc, then you just left the yellow pieces.
                                    I figure, with good places, I'm sending them business (so they report), with bad experiences faggedaboudid!