Do You Tip in Paris for Dinner? Understanding French Gratuity Customs

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Unlike in some countries where tipping is almost mandatory, the protocol can be quite different in the French capital. This guide explains French dinner tipping and shows when and how much extra to give.

In Paris, a service charge is typically included in the dinner bill, so additional tipping is not required. However, it is common to leave a small extra tip, such as rounding up the total or adding up to 5-10% for exceptional service.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping in Parisian restaurants is not required but appreciated for excellent service.
  • A service charge is generally included in your bill, meaning you shouldn't feel obligated to tip.
  • If you choose to tip, rounding up the bill or leaving small change is the typical way to show your gratitude.

Where and How Much to Tip

When visiting Paris, you might wonder about tipping customs, especially concerning how much you should leave for exceptional service. Here's your straightforward guide to tipping at restaurants, cafés, and hotels in the City of Light.

Establishment Type Service Charge Tipping Custom Suggested Tip
Restaurants "Service compris" included Customary for good service 10-15%
Fine Dining "Service compris" included Customary for exceptional service Larger tip, e.g., 10 or 50 euro note
Bars and Cafés Not always included Not mandatory but appreciated Round up or leave small change

Restaurants and Fine Dining

In Parisian restaurants, seeing “service compris” on your bill means that the service fee is included. Despite this, it is customary to leave a small tip for good service. A rule of thumb is to tip around 10-15% in Parisian restaurants. For instance, you might leave a few euros for a typical meal. In fine dining establishments, if you've received exceptional service, leaving a larger tip, such as a 10 euro note or even a crisp 50 euro note, is a generous gesture.

Bars and Cafés

Your experience at bars and cafés might be more casual, but tipping is still appreciated. It's not mandatory, but rounding up the bill or leaving some small change can be polite. If you've had a few drinks or lingered for a while enjoying the ambiance, consider leaving a euro or two on the table as a thank you.

Understanding Tipping in Paris

When you're dining out in Paris, understanding the local customs around tipping can greatly enhance your experience. Here's what you need to know.

Cultural Overview of Tipping

In France, tipping is more of a gesture than an obligation, reflecting your appreciation for good service rather than being a necessary part of a server's income. It's a volontaire act, meaning that while it's appreciated, it's not expected to the same degree as it might be in other countries. You'll find that the French often round up the total or leave a few extra euros for exceptional service.

Service Charge and Legal Aspects

Your bill in France will typically include a service charge called service compris, which means the cost of service is already accounted for in your bill. Legally, this charge is part of the overall price, and it ensures that staff receive a basic salary. However, this does not mean tipping on top of the service charge is unwelcome. If the service is extraordinary, it's customary to add a bit more, but remember, it's at your discretion.

Handling Tipping Payments

When you dine out in Paris, you have options on how to handle tipping payments. Understanding these choices is important to ensure that your appreciation for the service is conveyed appropriately.

Cash Versus Credit Card

Paying tips in cash is straightforward. After your meal, you can simply leave the desired amount on the table or hand it directly to your server. It's not obligatory to tip in Paris since a 15% service charge is typically included in the price of your food items; however, should you choose to tip, doing so in euros is the customary way.

Using a credit card to tip can be less common and might not always be possible. In some cases, Parisian servers may not be able to process a tip through a credit card transaction, as indicated by the experiences shared at Paris By Mouth. It's prudent to check with your server if adding a tip to your card payment is an option if you don't have cash on hand.

Dealing with Change and Small Bills

When dealing with change and small bills, it's useful to know that tipping in small denominations is acceptable. If your bill is paid and you receive coins as change, feel free to leave a part of it as a tip. Carrying small change in euros can be handy for this purpose.

Keep in mind that while tipping isn't a custom driven by the obligation to supplement a living wage or minimum wage, it's considered a gesture of goodwill to leave some small change for your server, especially when pleased with the service provided. Remember, the server receives a wage that factors in the "service compris" but a little extra is welcomed and seen as a sign of appreciation.

Published: 31-01-2024

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