Sitting at a cafe terrace in Paris, and watching people passing by while sipping on your Perrier water is not something you want to miss. But here comes the check, and with it the question: should I tip, and how much?.The check is all inclusive.
Unlike in America, cafes and restaurants in Paris directly include a 15% service charge in your check. This is required by French law as tips are assessed for taxation purposes.The 15% service charge is clearly itemized on your check, on top of the VAT tax (a French version of the sales tax). The words 'Service compris' (Tip included) indicate that the tip has already been included in the total to be paid.
The good news is that prices rated on the menus are all-inclusive: they include both the 15% tip and the sales tax. There is no last-minute unholy surprise when you are given your check. What you saw on the menu is what you get charged, no hidden extras.
No further tipping?.A small extra-tip will be well received, of course. It is a way to show you liked how your waiter took care of you. This is not an obligation though.
Small extra tips are also welcome because they go directly into your waiter's pockets. Oftentimes the 15% service charge goes to a common pot which is divided at the end of the day amongst all waiters. Some bar owners may also retain a portion or the entirety of the service charge: French law does not require that service charges be given back to waiters.
So your waiter might not even see a dime of it.In any case, you are under no obligation to extra tip. You paid your dues when you paid your check.
How much should the extra tip be?.Extra tips may range from just a couple of Euro dimes for a coffee or a soft drink, to 1-5 euros for a lunch or dinner. A nice 'Thank You' is 5 to 10% of the total check. But once again, there is no obligation, and no steadfast rule as far as the percentage goes.How do you tip elsewhere?.
In many cases, tips are a valuable income supplement for their recipients.Take taxi drivers for instance: the average salary of a taxi driver employed by a cab company is about ?1,400 a month, which in Paris is more or less equivalent to a $2,500 salary in NYC. These guys put in 10 hours a day. Some years ago, they used to work 14-15 hours a day, 6 days a week, to make more income. French law forbids them to do so today.
So they appreciate your tip all the way: 5-10% of your fare is a good rule of thumb.At the theater, tip the lady usher: a couple of euros is fine at the opera house [these ladies are also paid on the evening programs they sell], 50 euro cents is good at the movie theaters. Years ago, the lady ushers were not even paid by movie theater operators. They lived on tips only. Even if they are on a salary today, it is doubtful they earn more than the minimum wage.
At your hotel, your porter will appreciate a euro per bag.At expensive restaurants, classical concert venues, and discos, coat ladies usually take care of your belongings. Tip them a euro per large item when you retrieve your coats.At the museum, you may leave a couple of euros to your guide if you went through a guided tour.
In summary.These are guidelines based on experience and custom. They are in no way a uniform code of conduct. These advices are also applicable elsewhere in France. In other French regions, where the standard of living is lower than in Paris, tips are even more construed as a mark of generosity.
In the final analysis, tipping is just that: a sign of your generosity and of your appreciation of the level of service you have just received.(This article has been written in collaboration with Vincent Ramelli, a regular contributor to Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.com, a Paris-born writer, and a specialist of the city.).
.***About the Author***.
Phil Chavanne shares many useful advices on how to visit Paris. His travel guide offers free information about Paris hotels, restaurants, tours, museums, and other sites.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Phil_Chavanne.
By: Phil Chavanne