Olympics 2024: Paris Eateries Encourage Higher Tourist Tips

Olympics 2024: Paris Eateries Encourage Higher Tourist Tips

Paris, the romantic city of lights, is gearing up to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, but there’s a twist brewing in the streets of French capital involving unsuspecting tourists and even locals.

When it comes to dining out in Paris, the traditional tipping culture significantly differs from that of the US and other countries. In France, a legal 15% service charge is often included in the prices to cover workers’ wages, making it customary to leave just about a 5% extra tip, known as pourboire in French.

However, with the upcoming influx of 15 million travelers for the Olympics, the fine line of tipping etiquette is getting blurred, as experts and residents point out. French restaurant owners seem to be seizing the opportunity to take advantage of international guests’ lack of awareness, subtly nudging them into tipping more akin to a visit to a US chain restaurant like Applebee’s, The Times of London has reported.

As the Olympic fervor grips the city, eateries are slyly encouraging diners to tip generously despite it being unconventional in the French dining scene. This move has sparked mixed reactions, with Bordeaux University professor Olivier Babeau expressing his surprise, suggesting the ploy might be linked to the upcoming mega-event.

Anticipating that tourists might seek lodging outside the city or opt for cheaper dining options during the games, restaurant owners are resorting to tactics like guilt tipping using tablets to ensure they get more from the patrons. There’s also concern that people may choose to stay in and watch the games, impacting the dinner crowd negatively — a scenario London faced during the 2012 Olympics.

Amidst these tactics, some Parisians, like Arnaud, have reported feeling pressured to add tips while making card payments, underscoring the uncomfortable atmosphere fostered by the new practices. Even locals aren’t spared from falling prey to these strategies, as Françoise, a 55-year-old television producer, shared her shock at witnessing waiters soliciting tips from clueless foreigners, only to realize later that it’s becoming a norm even for the Parisians.

The blatant lack of differentiation between foreign and local patrons, criticizing the unscrupulous act, raises concerns about the ethical boundaries being crossed by establishments in the name of the Olympics. Will Parisian diners maintain their stance amidst this tipping turmoil, or will the charm of the games overshadow the nuances of dining etiquette? As the city braces itself for the grand event, the culinary scene seems to be serving up more than just gourmet delights, leaving both tourists and locals to navigate the streets of Paris with a careful eye on the bill and the tip jar.


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