French Table Manners Matter...

Old Feb 16th, 2013, 07:27 PM
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No tipping in restaurants in France--<i>le service est compris</i>. None of my French friends do it.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 10:20 PM
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At most, one leaves the change up to the next euro on the table.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 11:14 PM
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>> And using a 'cuillère à glace' would forever ban you from being re-invited<<

There were once people in England who thought that about fish knives (or affected to) - you were supposed to use a fork to flake the fish off the bone, I believe.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 01:46 AM
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Thanks for your input kerouac & Michael, that's good to know.
 I still believe that the generous american tipping habit is a good thing especially when the server speak our language. That's a higher level of service that we receive and tip for. How many french servers would bother to learn/speak Flemish, German, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic to provide a better service for them.

I spent a couple summers in Switzerland as a student and hardly ever tipped beyond a franc back then since I went out with the locals to simpler restaurants/cafes and cheap bars.  In recent times, however, those very same swiss acquaintances all tipped well when we went out to nice restaurants in Switzerland. They told me tipping is still not required but they do tip 5-10% in better restaurants that provides better service. I am surprised that it doesn't apply in France, seriously?
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 02:31 AM
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In the boondocks an hour from Toulouse, we leave small change in cafés and bars (bill is 8.20€, leave the .80).

Most of the restaurants we go to on a regular basis are family-owned and operated. We would never tip the owners but some of the larger places have a bowl or box by the cash register for tips for the staff. We leave 2-3 euros on a 40-euro bill, for example.

Interesting local custom new to us, at even the larger "tablecloth" places, the bill isn't brought to the table, you go up to the counter or bar to pay.

We go to one place 3-4 times a month, left 25 euros in the bowl at the New Year.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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Dax "I still believe that the generous american tipping habit is a good thing especially when the server speak our language. That's a higher level of service that we receive and tip for. How many french servers would bother to learn/speak Flemish, German, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic to provide a better service for them."

No. Dax no. please don't force your cultural standards on other cultures.

If we make this into a tipping thread it will go and on and never touch the far more interesting issue of butter knives. Still no one has answered by question about eating mussels in cream curry sauce.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 06:40 AM
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Reminds me of Madame Butterfly.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 07:00 AM
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Véronique, if
- I were not married;
- you were not married;
- I were some years younger
I'd be on the next available plane to Paris to propose to you.

FMT is one lucky guy.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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<i> I still believe that the generous american tipping habit is a good thing especially when the server speak our language.</i>

And the foreign tourist in the States should follow his own custom and not tip?
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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This is a perpetual confusion for me as I always rely on Fodorites, but whenever I ask people I know who live in Europe they always said waiters absolutely expect tips and they would never see you negatively if you tip better, they appreciate it! I remember some german fodorites saying the same thing.

After reading previous posts today, I felt compelled to call my swiss acquaintance and his french wife (both scientists) who live near Geneva how much they tip in restaurants and he told me around 10% especially in France where the salary is so low, many people without education hold a second job to survive ( that's why they don't want longer work hours) he said have pity on them, many count on tips to survive even with the 13 month salary. It's tough to survive on their low salary.

I also called my older sister who lives near Lucerne for 31 years how much exactly she and her swiss husband tip, she said 15% which should really be 10% but her husband is always too generous towards people. She agreed that the waiters in France and Italy earn very little compare to Switzerland many can't afford their own apartments and have to share, so those guys absolutely appreciate good tips. However she said there are people who barely tip anything at all. I reminded her how, as a student used to brag that no tipping is necessary in Switzerland, she said yes that was when they themselves were living on a tight budget, but if we can travel and afford the nice restaurants, we really should tip the waiters, though it is up to our good heart.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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<<FMT is one lucky guy.>>

Hey Padraig. Thanks for the nice compliment. Of course, you could also say that Mrs. FMT is one lucky gal.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Meanwhile "mussels in cream curry"? anyone?
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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<i>many people without education hold a second job to survive</i>

Saying such a thing is proof of total ignorance. I think your Swiss sister is totally disconnected from reality, DAX, because my Swiss friends do not tip in Switzerland, France or any other non tipping country. And yes, they do earn more money. So what? Life in Switzerland is extremely expensive.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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bilboburgler: http://www.leon-de-bruxelles.fr/la-c...ger-les-moules
I use the first method using the shells as tongs. It is supposed to be messy, that's why they bring hand wipes.
Padraig,
FMT better behave or I could accept your proposal! How about a table manner duel between the two of you?
Véronique
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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Wow, so much worry and rules...it's a wonder anyone ever eats anything at all. We just try to be polite and not offend anyone, but I don't think about any of this...i just sit down, order and eat. I would go crazy trying to sort out all the rules. I am Southern and what I understand about manners is that they are intended to make others comfortable, not uncomfortable.

This is entertaining to read.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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George Orwell, in "Down and Out in Paris and London", claimed that waiters at that stage relied on tips to survive - in fact they were usually much better than the wages, and there was a whole scale of payments that waiters then passed to other restaurant staff.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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denisea - You and I would get along just fine at the dinner table.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 04:15 PM
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<i>George Orwell, in "Down and Out in Paris and London", claimed that waiters at that stage relied on tips to survive </i>

That was a completely different era--1920's and 1930's. Tipping also existed in the 1960's, but it was being phased out, with a lot of restaurants indicating that <i>le service est compris</i>; and that is now universal.

On the other hand, the waiter in a Budapest restaurant was quite up front, almost to the point of being rude, about the fact that service was not included with the price of the meal. I accept the idea that Swiss tipping norms are not the same as in France.
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 05:45 PM
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Awesome, FMT!
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Old Feb 17th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Kerouac, you misread/misquoted:

It was the french & swiss scientist couple who talked about second jobs in France. The french wife told me her cousin repair houses near Lyon on his day off as a second job to help support his family on his low salary. In what way is that total ignorance? If anything this "ignorant" couple shows a smart financial strategy to work in Geneva but live in a mansion across the border buying cheaper gas & groceries in France.

My sister readily admits that they tip generously but if you know how hard they work to earn, you would not label her disconnected from reality, she knows the value of money all too well, but she's very compassionate and always helpful towards others individually.
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