French Tipping Etiquette: 10 Things Everyone Should Know

In France, tipping is a customary practice in the same way it is in most other countries. The accepted amount to tip at restaurants is generally around 10-15%.

But there are some things you should know about French tipping etiquette before you go. For example, it’s customary to round up the bill to the nearest Euro and leave your change on the table when you’re done.

It’s also important not to insult or complain about anything that happens during your meal because French waiters will often take offense and refuse any future service from you if they feel like they’ve been insulted by how much of a tip was left for them.

This article will give an overview of French tipping practices while highlighting key points that will make french dining more enjoyable.

So, here are 10 french tipping etiquette tips to help you while dining in France:

French waitress taking order

1. Do French waiters have a fixed salary?

French waiters get a fixed salary and a small budget from the restaurant owners which they must use for their own meal during the day. They have no reason to expect a high tip because of this.

2. Tipping or not tipping?

In some french restaurants it’s customary not to add gratuity but you can still add your French gratuity if you want by rounding up or just leaving all your change from the bill on the table when you’re done.

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3. Tipping in a self-service?

When dining at a French-owned crêperie or other self-service establishments, leave any appropriate french gratuity in the collection boxes near the cashier before paying your bill.

4. Tipping the entire restaurant staff

You can also leave french gratuities in small envelopes to be given to the staff on your way out at some restaurants where french tipping is not an accepted practice.

Since the summer of 2021, you can now give your tip by credit card. Indeed, the use of credit cards is very widespread in France.

5. How do French waiters react if you don’t tip?

French waiters are known for being extremely rude if they feel like you’ve left too little french gratuity. They will refuse any future service from you or purposefully serve your food late so that your friends have already finished their meals first.

So, always leave french gratuity and don’t complain about anything during your meal!

How do French waiters react if you don't give a tipp?

6. Talking with French servers

If french servers are particularly rude with you, ask them why they’re acting this way because there’s probably a good reason behind it.

If it turns out that he/she doesn’t speak french, switch to English and see if that changes things.

7. You don’t have to come back to this restaurant!

If french waiters speak french with you but still seem rude, it’s best not to come back again or complain about them because this could result in a lost friendship or a restaurant closure depending on the severity of the french tipping insult.

Just always leave french gratuity!

8. Why is he leaving with my credit card?

In many french-owned restaurants it’s very common for the french servers to run your credit card through a portable machine while you’re eating instead of bringing out an electronic terminal which means they need access to your wallet for a few seconds.

A french gratuity tip will make things more convenient for everyone involved.

9. How do I pay in a French restaurant?

The stage of payment of the bill is done in several times:

  1. first the customer asks the waiter for the bill
  2. the waiter brings the bill to the table and gives you time to get organized
  3. you tell the waiter how you are going to pay: in cash or by card
  4. If you pay in cash: you put the money in the container provided for this purpose. The waiter leaves with it and comes back a few moments later with the change.
  5. If you pay by card: the waiter comes back with the machine
  6. And finally, you can leave a tip! 😀

10. How does a French waiter bring you the bill?

When french servers bring you a french check at restaurants they leave it on the table and say Votre addition, monsieur/madame or Voici votre addition.

This means that they’re expecting french tipping, so it’s best to do as such.

That’s all there is to know about french tipping etiquette!

So, you want to know the do’s and dont’s of French tipping etiquette?

Great! We can help. If you’re looking for a crash course in France culture or need some tips on how to order food at an authentic french restaurant then we’ve got your back. If you want to know all the vocabulary of French wine, or if you want to know all the vocabulary of the French gastronomy and « how to eat like a French », read these articles.

Our friendly team will provide all the information you’ll need so that next time you go out with friends visiting from across the pond, they won’t have any problem understanding what everyone is saying around them.

And did you know that the French are great coffee lovers?

What are some other things people should know about being abroad? That’s right – don’t forget to bring enough Euro coins just in case there isn’t a cash register nearby when it comes time to pay!


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2 réflexions au sujet de “French Tipping Etiquette: 10 Things Everyone Should Know”

  1. Bonjour,
    (excuse me for writing in English but my French is not good enough to express what I want to say)
    Your piece on tipping in France surprised me I’m afraid. I have been to France many times and have friends there. They have told that it is not generally necessary to leave a tip in a restaurant as 15% service is included in the bill. Even though this does necessarily go to the staff, they are paid a living wage and benefits, so do not expect a tip (like 10% or 15%). Now my friends have also told me that if I like I can leave a few euro on the table or the dish for the bill but its not required. I have been doing this without any problem from waiters.

    About complaining during the meal – what’s the point of complaining after the meal? If there is something not right with one’s meal then the waiter must be told when he brings the meal, otherwise he cannot fix it. Of course he must be told in a polite way etc.
    In a coffee shop we agree that its common to round up the bill a little or leave some coins in the bill dish.
    Thanks for your video lessons, blog etc. I love them!
    Cordialement, Brendan

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    • Bonjour Brendan, merci pour ton commentaire. Je vais te répondre en français pour que ce soit un petit exercice de compréhension écrite 😉😊
      Alors, oui, c’est vrai que le salaire du serveur comprend le service, mais… Comme toujours en France, ce n’est pas aussi simple que ça. Le salaire dans la restauration reste quand même faible en France quand on regarde le nombre d’heures travaillées et l’amplitude horaire (midi, pause après-midi et ensuite le soir). De ce fait, les serveurs et serveuses comptent beaucoup sur les pourboires comme complément de salaire. D’autant plus que les pourboires ne sont pas soumis à l’impôt. Et tu le sais peut-être, mais la France est la championne du monde des impôts.
      Tout ça pour dire, que cela reste une bonne idée de laisser un pourboire entre 10 et 15%. Evidemment, seulement si tu as été satisfait du service. Of course ! 😀

      Pour se plaindre, même si c’est encore une spécialité française, avec la nourriture, il y a comme un tabou 😆 Normalement, on ne s’en plaint pas. Et même quand on le fait à la fin du repas, c’est souvent à demi-mots sans jamais être super direct.
      Bien sûr, tu as raison, si pendant le repas il y a quelque chose d’énorme qui ne va pas, on le dit tout de suite : si ce n’est pas le bon plat, si il y a quelque chose de « bizarre » dans la nourriture, etc. Mais c’est très rare.

      Encore merci pour les compliments et j’espère que tu as pu lire cette réponse sans trop utiliser Google Translate 👍💪

      A bientôt Brendan 😀

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