Tipping in France: Avoid these mistakes!

Are you planning to take a trip to France? If you’ve never been there before, you will no doubt want to immerse yourself in the country’s history, culture, art, and high fashion.

When you’re traversing through France, you’ll likely also want to discover French cuisine, nightlife, and more when you’re not taking in the sights.

Tipping in france

It’s when you’re out and about in France that you’ll encounter situations where you aren’t sure whether to tip your hosts and service providers or not.

This handy guide to tipping in France will tell you everything you need to know on the subject.

Do you tip in France?

Tipping in France is not compulsory.

As is the case in some other European countries, you may tip if you wish to express satisfaction for the service you’ve received.

In France, tips do not form part of an employee’s salary.

The only exception to that rule is tipping in restaurants.

But even then, your tips are already calculated as part of your total bill (more on that shortly).

Tipping customs to keep in mind

When tipping in France, firstly check that tips do not get included in your bill!

Before you pay your bill, be sure to bear in mind the following tipping customs to correctly reward someone for excellent service:

  • Always pay tips in cash direct to your server or host. Doing so guarantees they will get your tip;
  • The amount you tip depends on the service provided. Keep reading to learn more about tipping in France and how much is acceptable.

Useful phrases to know

Here are some useful French phrases for travelers to learn when talking to people that serve you:

  • L’addition, s’il vous plaît (the bill, please);
  • Combien ça coûte? (how much does it cost?);
  • Merci (thank you);
  • Au revoir! (goodbye!).

Tipping restaurants in France

Restaurants in France automatically add a “service compris” (gratuity) charge to your bill. It is around 15% of your total food and drinks cost.

When you get presented with your bill, check if a service compris charge got added. Under French law, this charge is to cover things like healthcare and retirement benefits for the employee that served you.

You can, of course, opt to give your waiter or waitress an additional cash tip directly. A gratuity of €5 to €10 is very generous.

When dining at a restaurant or café, particularly some of the more lavish ones, there are other tips you may wish to bear in mind:

  • Cloakroom staff. A small €1 cash tip is very welcome for coat check assistants that look after your coats;
  • Café servers. If you only have a coffee and snacks, consider rounding your bill to the nearest €5 or €10 and paying in cash.

Restaurant employees in France get paid a fixed wage and aren’t reliant on cash tips to earn a living.

Tipping tour guides in France

It’s proper etiquette to tip tour guides when you’re being shown the sights in France. Leave a €1-2 tip per person for small city tours. For longer trips, €2-5 per person is better.

Whether you’ve been on a tour bus or are getting shown around the Louvre in Paris, you want your tour to be a memorable one.

If your tour guide has exceeded your expectations, you can show your appreciation by leaving them a tip.

Each person in your party should leave a €1 to €2 cash tip; this applies to guided tours at museums and guides offering short tours on buses and coaches.

If you’re going on a guided tour by bus that takes all day, consider upping your tip to €2 to €5 per person.

All tour guides in France get paid a fixed salary. Tips do not form part of their wage.

Tipping in France: hotels or guest houses

Tipping hotel and guest house staff isn’t mandatory but is a welcome gesture.

There is no expectation to tip anyone working at your hotel or guest house. Still, you can show your appreciation for their hard work by giving them a small tip.

Image Source: Pixabay.

Here’s a rough guide to rewarding excellent service at a hotel or guest house:

  • €2 to €3 per bag for porters that bring your luggage to your room;
  • €5 to €10 for a concierge that has gone out of their way to make reservations for you;
  • €1 to €2 per day for housekeeping staff that service your room;
  • €1 to €2 for room service.

Employees of hotels and guest houses earn a fixed wage and don’t rely on tips.

Tipping taxis, coaches & cabs in France

When tipping in France, remember that taxi, coach and cab drivers don’t expect to receive a tip.

You should only consider offering drivers a cash tip if they’ve provided an excellent service. Examples include helping you with your luggage or taking you to your destination quickly.

Taxi and cab drivers usually work long hours. And while their pay isn’t too bad, cash tips are a welcome bonus and gives them the incentive to keep offering an excellent service to tourists.

Round up your bill for short journeys to the nearest €5. For long-distance trips, rounding up the bill to the nearest €10 is well-received.

When it comes to tipping coach drivers for private parties, a cash tip of €1 to €2 per person is a good idea.

Tipping in bars and pubs in France

Tips aren’t expected in France if you sit at the bar and order your drinks.

Bartenders are often very busy and will probably be confused if you leave them a tip while sat at the bar!

If you go to a club and have your drinks brought to your table, only consider leaving a tip if you’ve received excellent service from your server. In those cases, it’s customary to pay in cash and round the bill up to the nearest €5 or €10.

Always pay your bill to the person that served your table. Otherwise, they may not receive your tip!

Tipping in France: Barbers and in hair salons

In France, barbers and hair salon employees don’t expect to receive a tip.

However, if you’ve had a great experience and thoroughly enjoy your new look, a cash tip amounting to 10% of your bill is welcomed by your stylist.

As with other hospitality and retail service staff in France, barbers and hair salons don’t require a tip to form part of their salary. But, a cash tip is good for showing your appreciation of their work.