Tipping in French restaurants

Feb 24th, 2001, 04:56 PM
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Tipping in French restaurants

We have been told so many different ideas
re: tipping in French restaurants. We have been told that one should leave some change on the table because 15% service charge has been included. Is this still the custom and how much change should one leave for a table of 4 - 8 people for dinner? Also, how much to leave for at a street cafe for a bottle of wine or a drink or 2? Thanks!
Feb 24th, 2001, 05:04 PM
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It is absolutely NOT necessary to leave anything at a café or restaurant in France, as a 15% service charge has already been levied on yuor bill. However, the custom is to leave some small change - up to 5% more, perhaps, if you were particularly pleased with the service. Most French people won't leave anything. Most Americans leave a lot too much, which feeds the perception that Americans throw money around. I'd pay the bill and leave, unless you got some special service that you want to reward the establishment for.
Feb 24th, 2001, 05:07 PM
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Service charge is almost always included in the bill (prix net) so there is no obligation to leave a tip as such. In a modest place, when I have enjoyed the meal and the service, I have left a small change on the table, no more than 10-20F. When you pay with a plastic, their vouchers don't normally have an extra line for adding tips (as in UK or US). In which case I have left some cash tip. At a cafe, again no tip is expected, but you can round up the bill or leave a few francs. I don't normally go to expensive or gourmet restaurants, so I don't know what people do about tipping the sommelier etc.
Feb 24th, 2001, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for the info. Our friends tend to want to leave a lot on the table in addition to the service charge. We are never sure what is the custom in France.
Feb 24th, 2001, 06:24 PM
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There are many who would disagree with me but. . . when I dine in Paris I usually require a lot of "maintenance" from the waiter. I ask a lot of questions and sometimes require some special translations and suggestions. I usually explain the types of wine I like and ask for suggestions if I am unfamiliar with the labels. I am very friendly with the waiters and nearly all are very friendly in return. We often (if they are not really busy) end up discussing other restaurant suggestions and discuss where we are from, where he is from originally, etc. As a result, I generally leave at least 10% in addition to the service charge. Of course, if I encounter a rude waiter (I can't remember when that has happened in Paris to me personally, maybe because I don't treat them like dirt as I have seen both Americans and French do) or receive inadequate service, then I wouldn't leave anything additional. I regard the extra 10% as a small price to pay to reward the server for the extra time it takes to wait on me, and I know by the smiles that it is appreciated (no, I refuse to believe they are smiling because they've just suckered another American).
Feb 24th, 2001, 09:56 PM
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In fact, there's no general rule commonly accepted in France. It's not an usual issue as it seems to be in the US. Some people never leave a tip, some always do except if the waiter is extemeley displeasant, and any position inbetween.

Roughly, consider that a 10% tip is generous.
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