A Luxury Traveler’s Tipping Guide in France

There seems to be increasing confusion about appropriate tipping behavior while traveling. This type of travel etiquette is a source of many travelers concerns — from staying in hotels to traveling on luxury barges or cruise ships. Small cruise ship tipping, including riverboat cruises, is based on industry standards and also our two decades plus experience in this business. Luxury travel comes with all the extras included in the experience, dining, locales, and especially service.

On Riverboat Cruises, the following applies:

For the Cruise Director: We recommend 3 Euro’s per day, per passenger.

Example: 6 (passengers) x 3 Euro’s = 18 Euros

Multiply this by the # of days for the cruise: 18 Euros x 5 (days) = 90 Euros

For the Crew: 12 Euro’s per passenger, per day.

Example: 6 (passengers) x 12 Euro’s = 72 Euros

Multiply this by the # of days for the cruise: 72 Euros x 5 (days) = 360 Euros

When traveling aboard Barge Cruises, which range in size from 4 – 24 passengers, industry standard is 5% of the total cruise price paid directly to the Captain.

But the mode of travel throughout France is only one area of tipping that travelers should be aware of; there are other areas the prepared traveler would be interested in. When you travel to France or plan a holiday in France, you will have to dine, stay in a hotel, occasionally travel by taxi, and take tours.

Almost all restaurants prices will include applicable taxes and a 15% service charge or service compris. If you find the service has been more than expected, indeed exceptional, leaving another 2-3% is customary, and so is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill when paying in cash. When service is not included or service non compris, a 15% tip is appropriate.

For hotels you should tip porters around 1.50 Euro per day for each bag, and chambermaids 1.50 Euro a day. “A Travelers Passport to Etiquette” explains that every time a service is performed, you need to tip, “That’s part of the cost of travel,” says author Lisa Mirza Grotts. You should pay a tip of 10-15% of the metered fare to taxi drivers; hairdressers should receive 10%, and assistants 5%. Smaller tips of around 1 Euro are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers, and museum tour guides.

When going on excursions, it is standard practice to tip tour guides and bus drivers 1.50 – 3 Euro, dependent on your level of satisfaction of the service. It is suggested for hotels that travelers consult with the front desk to see whether tips are customarily left behind for each service provider or given to the front desk; policies vary.

Hopefully these tips will help you focus more on your travel and less on the sometimes complicated etiquette of tipping when you travel. Including your tipping expenses in your budget when you travel makes you an informed and organized traveler.