Many people think that travelling through France is expensive. It’s not actually true. Some things in France are expensive, some are moderate in price, and others are positively dirt cheap compared to prices in other countries.
As a rule, prices for hotels and restaurants in French regions, and for other goods and services are significantly less expensive than in Paris.
There are also significant discounts for senior citizens, students and children under 18 for domestic transportation, museums and monuments for some leisure activities like the movies.
Prices in French restaurants and cafes
Restaurants usually charge for meals in two ways: a prix-fixe menu (also called a “menu”). This includes 2 or 3 courses, with cheese and/or dessert, and sometimes a half-bottle of wine or ordering “a la carte” -the more expensive way, with each course ordered separately.
Prices at cafes can vary considerably depending on the location of a particular cafe as well as where one is seated in the establishment. Prices in areas that attract a high volume of tourists (for example, the vicinity of the Champs-Elysees around Notre Dame) tend to be more expensive. Every cafe has different prices depending on whether one stands at the counter or sits at a table.
Taxes and service charge
Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15% service charge in their prices. If a meal or service has been particularly good, leaving another 1.50 € (or 2-3%) is customary, as is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill if you pay in cash. If service is not included a 15% tip is appropriate.
In hotels, you should tip porters 1.50 € for each bag and chambermaids 1.50 € a day. Taxi drivers should be given 10-15% of the metered fare. Tip hairdressers 10%, assistant 5%. Small tips of around 1.00 € are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers and museum tour guides. It is standard practice to tip tour guides and bus drivers after an excursion, generally 1.50-3.00 €, depending on the level of the satisfaction.