France Travel Guide

How to Tip in France

PHOTO: Shutterstock/Catarina Belova

Everything you need to know about when (and how much) to tip while visiting France.

There is nothing more vexing than trying to figure out who to tip, how much, and when—especially in a foreign country. On your travels, you’re sure to come face to face with employees at airports, train stations, hotels, spas, restaurants, cafés, and bars, and in these cases, tipping can be a complex cultural dance to learn.

In France, tipping truly takes on its original intention: gratuities can be given when service is exemplary, and the absence of a tip is not necessarily a slight. French people in service industries have certainly grown accustomed to the American custom of tipping, but if the service somewhere was substandard, you are by no means obligated to tip.

Do bear in mind that should you decide to tip, you will need to do so in cash: restaurants and other establishments will not have a “tip” line on credit card slips.

Bearing this in mind, the next time your travels take you to Paris or elsewhere in France, rely on the following guidelines:

At the airport or train station: Tip anyone who helps you with your bags; €1 to €2 per bag is sufficient.

At hotels: The bellhop who carries your luggage to your room should get €1 to €2 for each bag. Room service waiters should get €1 to €3, regardless of service charges. You don’t need to tip the concierge for simple questions like directions to restaurants or sights, but you should give €5 to €15 for more involved requests, like securing hard-to-get reservations or sold-out show tickets. Doormen should be given €1 to €2 if they hail you a taxi or otherwise go out of their way to assist you.

Taxi drivers: €1 to €2 is usually sufficient unless you have a private chauffeur or a driver who also serves as a guide. In this case, a good tip is 10% of the fare.

Tour guides: Tour guides should receive 10% of the tour price.

At restaurants: At casual eateries, leave between €1 and €5 for your server. At fancier restaurants, a 5 to 10 percent tip is appreciated. Also at more expensive restaurants, tip restroom attendants and coat-check personnel up to €1. Bartenders should receive €1 per round.

At hair and beauty salons: Tip your hairdresser or esthetician 5 to 10% of the service price.