Antibes, tipping and dipping toes into the Mediterranean

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Blog, French culture, Trips Abroad

Sunday we decided to spend the day visiting Antibes… first the Provençal market, then lunch, then a walk along the sea to test the water, and finally a visit to the Picasso museum in Vieil Antibes. It was a lovely, warm and very sunny day. With the breeze from the Mediterranean, we were comfortable and enjoyed lunch on the terrace with a view of the lovely blues of the sea and the various boats out and about.

Colorful boxes of fruit and vegetables

Colorful boxes of fruit and vegetables

Cheese in the market

Le fromage dans le marché – Cheese in the market

On this visit I have noticed a new phenomena, one that has me a bit concerned… traditionally in France, waiting tables is a profession. Waiters are paid good wages, have benefits, and most even go to school to learn the art of service, French style. While at school, future waiters are also trained in the art of pairing wine and food, and even in the preparation of food. After all, a good waiter needs to know how a sauce is made, whether or not there are mushrooms, which types of mushrooms, and much more.

Apéritif à Antibes







Apéritif au Restaurant les Vieux Murs




As a part of this tradition, one does not tip, at least not American style, at the end of a meal. There is no percentage that is expected. I have even heard stories of waiters going out in the street to return ‘forgotten’ money to people who left it on the table as a tip. In the past, it was not even possible to leave a tip on a credit card. Any tip that you left had to be in cash, and this was usually a few coins to let the waiter know that you appreciated the service.

This summer, however, in two different restaurants, my friend and French student has asked about adding a tip to the credit card, and in both cases, she was able to do so. The waiter that we had at our very lovely lunch in Antibes, even clarified, stating that service was included in the price but that a pourboire or tip was at the discretion of the patron.

Boules !Boules !

Méduse dans la mer - Jellyfish in the seaMéduse or jellyfish in the Bay of Antibes

Mes pieds dans la Mediterranée

Mes pieds dans la Méditerranée

Vieil Antibes - Old Antibes

Vieil Antibes – Old Antibes