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Tipping in Paris - hotel housekeeping/concierge, etc.

Tipping in Paris - hotel housekeeping/concierge, etc.

Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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Tipping in Paris - hotel housekeeping/concierge, etc.

What is the protocol in Paris for tipping these people? One woman who works at the front desk has been particularly helpful. She's answered all my emails very promptly, made 7 nights of dinner reservations for us, etc.

Taxi drivers? I've heard to round up a euro or two from the fare. What about tipping for a longer trip, as from CDG to the city center?

Finally, restaurants: I *can't* find the "right" answer to this... Some people say tips are not expected, but an extra few euros are appreciated for good service. Some people say 5%, others 10 or even 15% as we do back home (!). What would you give for "fair" service? For good? Obvoiusly, for truly outstanding service, I'd tip quite nicely.

Thanks so much for any advice,
Tara

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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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You don't need to tip in restaurants, as a service charge is included in the bill--and our French friends don't add anything extra. But often people leave the small change in a café or a tip of 5 Euros or so in a restaurant for really good service.

I usually tip around 10 to 20 Euros if someone at the hotel's front desk has made a number of dinner reservations, but you certainly don't need to tip for answering e-mails.

For taxi drivers, figure about 10%, including airport trips.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Restaurants include the tip in the price of the meal. (Most menus will also indicate that - somewhere.)

However, that isn't to say you can't add something if the service is exceptional.

Tipping housekeeping and the concierge is normally not included in the price of your stay. It is normally acceptable to tip the housekeeping 1 to 2 euros per day - more if more are in the room.
The person at the front desk should be tipped in a similar manner - each time you request something extra to be done.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Service is included in the restaurant bill -- but a tip is not. If you ask a waiter if the tip is included, he will say no because the tip is voluntary while service charge is mandatory.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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So would it be acceptable to wait until the last night of our stay and leave the tip for the housekeeper in an envelope in the room, or should I leave it each day? I imagine I'd want to do the same for the lady at the front desk... wait until the *end* of the trip and leave her a nice thank-you note with a tip in a sealed envelope at the front desk -- rather than doing it each time I request something, since I haven't even left on the trip yet, and she's been great.

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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Now I'm confused. It seems to me that there are three reasons one may add something extra to the bill:

(a) because the worker in question is paid so poorly that they need tips to pay the rent - in other words, the employer has shifted much of the burden of paying his or her employee to individual customers, but at their discretion. This applies primarily in the United States, or so I thought.

(b) as a gesture of appreciation for service above and beyond the call of duty, usually by someone who isn't on a high wage; this is practiced in many, but not all, countries, but even in the United States is not extended to all service industry staff (e.g., it excludes shop assistants).

(c) because the money is being extorted from the customer in the form of a compulsory "service charge" and allows the proprietor to quote a deceptively lower price on the menu or tariff sheet.

Now, a Parisian hotel maid could only fall into category (a). But does she? In other words, is she excluded from statutory minimum wage laws designed to guarantee workers a living wage?

And while I seldom stay in hotels employing such exotica, aren't concierges employed for the very purpose of (inter alia) making dinner reservations for guests? In which case, are they also reliant on tips to pay the rent?

I'm genuinely interested in answers to these questions. I don't see any point in giving away "free money", as the Chinese would have it, but I'm not a skinflint either. And I do believe in the "when in Rome" principle.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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We had a situation at the hotel we stayed in Paris (Henri IV) with a particularly helpful woman at the front desk who made and/or re-confirmed dinner reservations and booked our airport shuttle. We left her 20E upon departure and she seemed thrilled.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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I have read from other posters that they have tipped the housekeeping staff in their Rome hotel daily (left a little something on the pillow because they liked to tip) and were "rewarded" with extra toiletries, chocolates. I personally have not tipped US hotel housekeeping staff (except once when the entire stay in a suite was comped), but I was wondering about doing it on this trip. We usually tip the concierge at a resort, if they have made multiple dinner reservations or performed some other extra form of service on our behalf.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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Oops, sorry, Tara, I just saw you were referring to Paris hotels, but the protocol might be the same.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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I tip the maid daily. I suspect the service is better than if you wait until the end.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 06:48 PM
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Tip daily, as the maids may change during your stay.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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I agree with underhill, tip daily as the maids may change. At the Hilton, I leave E4 for the day maid and E2 for turn down. I do not tip the consierge for routine dinner reservations. Taxi's I rounded up but never less than E1 for a quick ride. From the airport, E8. For a E200 dinner in a very fine restaurant we left E20 - a 3 hour meal that was theater. I don't know if these tips are out of line but they felt instinctively appropriate - I felt neither cheap nor extravagant.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Dear Tara,
There is really no protocol when traveling in europe IMO. I or we tipically give 3-5 euro per night for housekeeping. ( remember It's not always the same service person) I guess this makes me laugh thinking about it, because my wife and I are real clean freaks; we are very orderly and neat.( housekeeping really does'nt have to do much). But for the gesture we are always rewarded. I guess it really depends on your accommodations. Meaning, what they actually do to make up the room and the ammenities you are using. I feel that anything that is done beyond the normal scope of employment or their duties should be rewarded! It's up to your personal discretion. As far as tipping in Europe. I give accordingly to the service received. Someone mentioned service charge???? I could be wrong but, I believe that goes to the server (15%). This is automatically added to the bill! If the service is exceptional an additional 5% could be added? "by you" This is how we have tipped over the last something years. I sure hope we've been doing the right thing? I will also mention, many Europeans find it funny how much Americans over tip! So keep that in mind. You may be a big tipper at home.
Though it can be offensive to them. I don't get it !!! I'll take whatever your willing to give me. Answer to the CDG question? it normally runs 50-55 euro to the city center 1-8 arr. We always give an extra 5 euro. Plus they will charge 1 euro per bag in addition.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:30 AM
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What Americans call “gratuity” on their bill, is the law in Europe. Tipping is not a must, cause this is undisclosed income. Still the taxman has a solution to this problem and taxes a fixed sum of tips that might have been received. However, since I have a son in the hotel and catering circuit, I know that tips are more than welcome… so…Americans among you…keep on tipping!!!
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 04:53 AM
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Tara:
I think it would be most appropriate for you to tip the one person who has been helpful to you right away at the front desk (envelope). You can certainly wait until the end of your stay, but acknowledging her kindness as soon as you meet would certainly signal your gracious appreciation of her past work for you.

I must admit I don't always tip housekeeping staff as much as Scottsdig per night, but I also tip daily. Actually I have two reasons for doing so. The first is the obvious fact that housekeeping staff can change daily. The second reason involves a belief my wife has hoisted upon me: she feels that leaving a tip with a kind note acknowledges the housekeeper's value to the guest's experience.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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I'm with Underhill. And the concierge, I'd probably tip half way through and at the end.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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If you are leaving a nightly tip, how do you make sure the housekeeping staff knows the money is for them? I see in London you could leave an envelope addressed "Housekeeping", but how would you label an envelope in French? Thank you.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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I leave an envelope with a couple euro in it on the bed as we leave the room each day. The envelope has the word "Merci!" on it. It is never there when we return later in the day, so I think that works...
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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Lynny: In French it is "pour la femme de chambre"
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Bonnyjean, you don't tip US housekeeping staff? Why not? Has the service you receive on every stay that bad? That to me would be the only reason NOT to leave something for housekeeping.
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