Tipping protocol in Paris...

Old Oct 8th, 2001, 12:22 PM
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Tipping protocol in Paris...

Headed to Paris next week..never been there..what is the normal tipping policy in Paris..for taxi, restaurants, theaters, so on and so on...!!
Old Oct 8th, 2001, 12:56 PM
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This is what I do, there are people who tip less or more
Taxis, 10-15%
Restaurants: The final bill you receive will already include a service charge,
that's called Service compris.
That pretty much goes to management, not the waiter, so it is customary, not mandatory, just customary to leave an additional 5-10% in cash on the table.
Don't add it on to the credit card slip, in fact don't add any service charge onto the credit card slip because it is already included in your total.
I have a long file on Paris including more tipping info; if you'd like to see it, email me.
Old Oct 8th, 2001, 01:01 PM
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ACTUALLY, the only reason to leave 5-10% for waitstaff in Paris is if your service was EXTRAordinary ... Service compris means just that - service/tip included. if your service was bad, leave nothing, if it was ok, maybe round up the total or drop a couple of francs. it's not like in the US where the waitstaff gets taxed on tips, so if you feel your service was nothing special, no need to tip percentages.
Old Oct 8th, 2001, 01:20 PM
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The bill in restaurants in France already includes 15-16%, so you don't have to leave anything. If the service was great, you may just want to round the bill up - usually a few francs for restaurants/cafes.

If the cab driver was courteous, tip him 10%.
Old Oct 8th, 2001, 03:25 PM
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Well have lived in France and have family there and I've never heard that the service compris - the tip went to the management - it may but the waiter certainly is well paid, which is why you see the same waitpeople at the same eateries year after year. Waiting is truly a profession there and they do not expect tips from most French at least. Now I'm not talking about three-star Michelin ones but average restaurants. Whenever I'm with my French family and offer to leave something extra they say why - the tip is already paid, but it's called a service charge and not a gratuity. For most folks 15% already charged is enough. Waiters will work fat-cat Americans for tips however, and why wouldn't they?
Old Oct 8th, 2001, 04:48 PM
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What Ritardo says is true, but there is a big difference between a local French person eating at a standard restaurant and me eating at one. I am a "high maintenance" customer. The wait person must put up with my slow and poor attempts at his language. He will have to spend an unusual amount of time trying to explain a lot and answer my many questions about the food and the preparation. I will not be familiar with the local wines, but we will probably become engaged in a conversation discussing what I like and he will help me make a selection. I am likely to ask him for recommendations of other places to eat -- his local favorite for example, or a place similar to his establishment for another night. I feel that by the end of the evening, most French waiters have easily earned and easily deserve the extra 10% I tend to give them. I have never seen in any legit guide a statement that "service compris" includes the tip. It includes service -- there is a big difference between that and what I call a "tip", which is for extra service.
Old Oct 9th, 2001, 09:42 AM
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I'm with Patrick on this one.
A franc in US terms is currently worth about 16 cents, and that makes even five francs about 80 cents. "A couple of francs" is 32 cents, not an amount I would leave for even a child; I'd rather leave nothing. On an $8.00 tab, leaving five francs ("a few francs") is a generous 10% tip, but unlesss I'm only having a pastry and coffee I never am lucky enough to such a low tab for a meal.
On a 200 franc tab ($33), a 5% tip is
still only 10 francs (less than $2), and a 10% tip is 20 francs, only another $3.00 or so.
If I've had helpful service, in a real restaurant (as opposed to a snack bar, for example) then I leave a tip. As far as I know I've never offended anyone, it is always met with a smile (not a sneer) and a "Merci Madame." I am not a fat-cat American, at least I try not to behave like one. If this is perceived as my indulging in another one of my country's odd practices, it doesn't hurt me, and it can't possibly hurt them. I'd rather err, if I err, on the side of generosity.
Anyone else can feel free to do what they're comfortable with.
In my initial post I said "this is what I do", there is no policy per se.
Old Oct 9th, 2001, 10:24 AM
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I think it is nice Patrick always tips because he thinks he's high maintenance, but I don't agree with him at all on his personal distinction that service is not a tip. Of course it is, that's eactly what a tip is for, service, why else are you giving it? And I have seen many sources who refer to the service included as the same as a tip. I don't tip routinely in Parisian restaurants because they do include the 15 pct service charge; in the US, they do not, waiters are paid less than minimum wage because the law assumes up to min wage is made up in tips. If it's not, the employer must pay it in the US, but in France, they are paid better to begin with and have better benefits. I also think advice to tip a franc (I've even seen centimes mentioned as tips) is insulting, I don't do it. I might agree more with Patrick's def. of tip as above-the-norm service, and it sounds like maybe he requires it, but most people don't--following that definition I would almost never tip in the US, though, as I hardly ever get above-avg service here.
Old Oct 9th, 2001, 01:14 PM
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The "service", indeed, isn't a tip. Though most people, even in france, believe that it goes to the waiter, it's often no true. The management can or cannot gives it back to the waiters, as an incentive (and also it has consequences on taxes paid by the owner, AFAIK). And there's no way to know if the waiter will receive it or not in the particular restaurant you're eating in.

That said, actually, the idea is that there's no generally accepted "protocol" concerning tips in France. Some people never tip, others always do, most do only when they're satisified. The same with the amount of the tip. Some will leave say 10%,some 5%, other always the same amount whatever could be the cost of the meal, say 10 FF even for a 300 FF bill, etc...Actually, people don't do their maths, they just leave what they feel is OK, and this conception varies widely from an individual to another.

Anyway, you don't have to leave a tip if you're not happy with the service.

For a beverage in a cafe, you could leave only 1F and nobody would feel insulted. Usually the waiter will give small change in any case (say 4 1FF coin and 2 50 cents coins instead of a 5 FF coin), in the hope you'll leave it to him.

In a restaurant, usually, I leave 10% if I'm satisfied, nothing at all if I'm not. But once again, it's only my personnal habbit, and not at all a generally accepted rule.

Old Oct 9th, 2001, 01:17 PM
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Concerning taxis, though, the tip is more common, and usually around 10% (or quite often just the change the driver gives you back). But it isn't mandatory, either, and the driver won't say anything if you don't give him a tip.
Old Oct 9th, 2001, 02:18 PM
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One reason I distinquish between a "tip" and "service" in France but not in the US: ask any waiter in France if service is included and he will invariably say yes. Ask the same waiter if a tip is included and I guarantee you he will say no. I am often amused by listening to other tourists around me. One night within minutes of each other two couples asked the same question the two different ways. The ones who used the term service were told it was included and left nothing extra. The ones who used the term tip were told no and left some. Obviously if I were a waiter in France it wouldn't take me long to make the distinction and grab at the opportunity if someone asked if tip were included, and it's not a matter of dishonesty -- they invariably seem to answer truthfully about "service" being included. And honestly, from my observations at other Americans around me, I suspect I'm really no higher maintenance than most American tourists eating in Paris.
Old Oct 9th, 2001, 05:29 PM
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I'm surprised to see that so many people leave an additional 10-15% even though the service is included. I always leave something extra, but not that much. Adding as much as 30% to the price of the meal seems a bit excessive to me. I've always been under the impression, as someone else mentioned, that waiters in France are relatively well paid and not dependent on tips like their counterparts in the U.S.
Old Jan 18th, 2002, 12:36 AM
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Topping for Phyllis

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