How much do you tip in France?


Dining in French restaurants, regardless of whether or not you have opted for French cuisine, is always an enjoyable experience. With their 'formules' that are always a cheaper option than ordering a single dish 'à la carte', you are guaranteed to leave the restaurant fully satisfied, yet not overly full. The portions of 'entrées', main courses and desserts are perfectly sized and go wonderfully with a glass of wine. If you have chosen well and avoided tourist-aimed restaurants that often have sky-high prices and disgruntled staff, you will have also probably enjoyed some friendly, fast service.

So how much do you tip? During my first few weeks in Paris, I was so impressed by every restaurant that I was sort of in a state of eternal gratitude for the establishments that had just offered me such a pleasant experience. Overdramatic? Perhaps, but as an 'eating out' enthusiast, I have been to my fair share of restaurants, and too often I have left feeling unsatisfied/overstuffed, ripped off or just plain angry with the staff.

So my first few weeks here I found I was leaving ridiculously generous tips, especially for a student, mainly because I thought these restaurants were exceptional in comparison to most well-renouned places in other countries. I also didn't really know what the minimum tipping percentage was. But after realizing that this was just the standard French dining experience, I asked around about tipping etiquette and was once again, pleasantly surprised.

Unlike in the US where you need to choose a (high) percentage to tip and work it out from the final bill, French waiters do not expect any tips at all! They get paid normal wages and therefore do not rely on tips for their monthly salary. So a simple euro or two is enough to show them your appreciation without the need to splurge to really get your gratitude across.

All in all, for any of you expats or travellers that are planning to leave France soon, make sure you make the most of its restaurants and cuisine. You're going to miss it!

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