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How much should you REALLY tip waiters in Paris?

How much should you REALLY tip waiters in Paris?

Sep 10th, 2001, 09:40 AM
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How much should you REALLY tip waiters in Paris?

Just finished reading about tipping in both the Fodor's and Frommer's guides. I find it difficult to believe that we should only tip "a few centimes" for a drink and "a couple of bucks worth of francs" for a meal. I understand that service is included, however, I would like to get the "lowdown" from those of you who go regularly.

What is really appropriate for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Drinks?

Thanks, Rod.
Sep 10th, 2001, 09:49 AM
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You will find that most menus at restaurants state that "service is included" throughout Europe. I usually round up (I don't want to carry all of that extra change around). If service is not included, I usually leave 15-20% as I do in the US. However, if service is included but it is exceptional, I'm prone to leave much more than the extra change.
Sep 10th, 2001, 10:32 AM
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<<If service is not included, I usually leave 15-20% as I do in the US>>

Service is always included in France, whether it says so or not.
Sep 10th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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Tip them just enough to make them fall over.
Sep 10th, 2001, 11:21 AM
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We 'round up' the bill for any meal. The guy in the wine bar that serves us every night for a week might get a little more at the end of the week, and outstanding service gets a little more...you get the picture.
Sep 10th, 2001, 11:30 AM
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Tipping absolutely not required in most of Europe, and certainly not in France. Waitstaff make decent wages, quite unlike the US. The word for tip in French is "pourboire", which translates as "for drink" ... a very small amount. Customary, but >not< anywhere near required, to "round up". For example, if the tab comes to 87.50, you might leave 90. You'd probably want to not leave more than 5%, and there's just nothing unusual or wrong with leaving nothing. Except for those who work with (inexperienced) Americans, tips are not at all a meaningful source of income. They usually just pay for the occasional beer. (Hence, pourboire.)
Sep 10th, 2001, 05:17 PM
John G
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I, too, was told to round up when I traveled across France in '98. Everywhere I went the waiters smiled at me when I did so, so it must have been enough. JG.
Sep 10th, 2001, 05:22 PM
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Remeber - do not add the tip to your payment if you pay by credit card. The correct way is to place the coins on the table, (slid slightly under the lip of the plate per my frenchman).
Sep 10th, 2001, 05:32 PM
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Waitstaff in Paris get 15% of the bill up front. Anything else you care to tip them is up to you. It's customary among Parisians to tip a few centimes or francs beyond the price for good service, but it's certainly not expected. People tend to "round up" the bill if they're happy with the service; thus, if it's 125.50 francs they'll leave 126 or 130 if the service was really, really good. And if you tip an extra 10 percent or 15 percent beyond the already tip-included price, you'll be considered a rich American novice.Not that it doesn't happen all the time......
Sep 10th, 2001, 11:05 PM
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You may leave "centimes" in a cafe should you have to pay for a small amount (i.e. a coffee), but tips are always expected and welcomed. This of course applies when you are pleased with the service provided.
The 15 percent rule for service applies in France but is mostly dedicated by the owner to calculate the minimum monthly wage based on 12 hours a day and 6 days a week...
Top restaurants will give better salaries to their employees but it is not always the case in cafes and smaller restaurants.
I have friends working in Parisian restaurants and they do rely on extra tips, since the basic salary is quite low.
Sep 11th, 2001, 03:49 AM
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With regard to drinks, if you mean cocktails, service is NOT included in the prices at a bar or cocktail lounge.
Sep 11th, 2001, 10:35 AM
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I tip some if I'm feeling particularly benevolent or had especially good service or good day, maybe 5 pct. I would have thought that a tip of 50 centimes would not be considered nice, it seems insulting to me and if I were a waiter I don't think I'd like that, although it may be easier just to leave the centimes instead of taking them as I find it hard to use them all up, but I wouldn't consider that a tip. That's just my feeling, though, as that is worth about a nickel, isn't it? I know if you tipped a US waitperson a nickel, I don't think they'd be too thrilled and it might be better not to tip at all. Do French waiters really like a tip of a few centimes? I'm just curious, I don't do that myself.
Sep 12th, 2001, 01:55 PM
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Remember that "tip" and "service" are not the same thing in France or anywhere else in Europe. If you ask any server at any restaurant in Paris if the "tip" is included, he will say no. On the other hand, if you ask if "service" is included, he will probably say yes. Service is added by the establishment and goes to the establishment to help pay the decent wage given there to employees, unlike in the US. On the other hand, if you add a "tip" it is something special for the server himself and will be greatly appreciated. I have often overheard Americans ask a server if the tip was included and always heard the answer to be "no". The customers then assume that the usual "service" has not been included, even though it has. I suppose I "overtip", but if a server has been extra kind, including indulging me in my fractured and certainly painful (to the server) attempts to speak the language, then I often leave an extra 10% or so.
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