About Secrets of Paris

Created in 1999, the Secrets of Paris is the oldest independent and locally-owned website about Paris in English, for both visitors and residents. Discover what you've been missing:

* Free Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events 
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Tours & Travel Planning

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here

 

 

 

 

Calendar of Paris Events

November 5-13
The 41st annual Salon Marjolaine, the largest organic fair in Paris, takes place this week at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes) with 550 stands selling everything organic you could imagine. There are also plenty of food stands for lunch onsite, a vestiaire, and a little shuttle from the metro Château de Vincennes to the entrance of the Parc Floral. Open 10:30am-7pm. Entry €10, but you can get a €3 discount voucher on the website to print out in advance. You can also see my article and video from my visit in 2010.  

Marchés de Noël - Christmas Markets are Here! 
Am I the only one who thinks it's wrong that the Christmas Market opens on the Champas-Elysées before Beaujolais Nouveau?  The two largest are opening mid-month this year.
- November 11-January 8 on the Avenue des Champs Elysées
- November 17-December 27 at the Esplanade de La Défense
Other Christmas Markets will be opening around Paris in December, see the full list (en françaishere.   

November 17 
Although it's rather low-key in France compared to the hype it gets in America, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau festival takes place in wine bars throughout Paris today. Read all about the history and the different varieties (good, bad, ugly) and where to celebrate in Paris in this excellent article by Aaron Ayscough, The Redemption of Beaujolais Nouveau (read the 2014 update here and his current on-location exploration of the Beaujolais region here). And for fun, here's a link to the little video I made at the Beaujolais dinner I attended in 2010 with Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth and Bryan Pirolli.  

Click here to see the full calendar of events...

Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

Essentials > Money Matters > Tipping

Let's get this straightened out at once:

  • You are not required to tip in restaurants.
  • You are not required to tip waiters/waitresses.
  • A 15% service fee is automatically included in ALL cafés, restaurants, bars, etc. as part of the price of each item (not on top of the total).
  • Servers in France do not live off of tips. They get paid vacations, health care, and living wages.

Having said that, it's always polite to tip when you've received good service (wow, what a novelty). The French usually round up to the nearest euro or two. My rather affluent French friend who eats out for every single meal (he's a bachelor) never tips under €2 or more than €20, even when dining at a Michelin-star restaurant. But if you WANT you can leave more, especially if you've been a particularly demanding client (ie pain in the a**). If you have had rude service, DO NOT TIP! If you ask the server if the tip is included, they will most likely say no. This is because in France a tip is a tip, the service fee of 15% is incorporated into the price of each item, not added to the top of the bill like the VAT. Don't let them guilt you into tipping. Don't guilt yourself into tipping for bad service. It brings down the level of service. And we don't need that in France!

NOTE: The VAT (or TVA en français) has been lowered to 5.5% for food, but remains 19.6% for wine and some luxury foods, both itemized on your bill.

Tipping Elsewhere 

Tip hairdressers, tour guides, theatre ushers, parking valets and concierges (depending on how demanding you've been). In hotels it’s customary to tip luggage handlers, room service (except for breakfast) and to leave something on your pillow for housekeeping (especially if you've been a slob). In some places (like cloak rooms) you may see a sign that says pourboire interdit (tipping forbidden). I never tip a taxi driver more than a euro, usually I round up to make it easier for them to give me change.

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