Answers from Our Experts (1)
Before coming to Paris, you have probably heard rumors that the French don't tip. While the general understanding is that you don’t have to tip in Paris, the status-quo is actually changing.
In France, servers are paid a higher hourly wage than in America, but this is supposed to include the tip. While service in Paris can often be quite abrupt, and not ‘worthy’ of an additional tip, it is welcomed and encouraged to leave something for your server to let them know you appreciate their help.
I encourage diners to leave anywhere from 1€ to 20€ depending on the meal (lunch or dinner?), the type of restaurant (a corner cafe or a nice restaurant?), what you ordered (just a drink or a three-course meal?).
Tipping in Paris isn’t calculated as a percentage of your total, but rather as a symbol of your appreciation. If you have a fabulous three-course dinner at a restaurant, I suggest leaving upwards of 10-20€ (or more) for your waiter (assuming they were courteous and made your dinner more enjoyable). If you just got a drink at a bar or a quick lunch, an additional tip isn’t really necessary, but of course, always welcomed.
Servers don't mind answering the question "Is tip included?" because sometimes they are quite surprised by extra tips left by tourists, and have been known to come after you to return the change they thought you forgot to take!
Don't forget that tipping is only possible in cash, as credit cards are run directly and there isn't a space to write in a tip on the receipt.
David Lebovitz also has some good tips for tipping in Paris.