We were just there, and "older" guide books (and from past trips,) tipping, was referred to as, "service compris". (I believe). Well for some reason, we were having trouble locating the service compris part of our bills. (I think it is now a 19.x% "tax"... Could not find the actual words, "serivce compris."
So I asked if the tip (what we equated to s.c.) was included. And I was told "No", several times. Finally, (because I couldn't believe all of France had changed overnight), I asked if "service compris" was included. "OH yes, it is, but the tip is optional, and is not included." Score one for the French! We had been "double" tipping, by our terminology.
The big problem I have with tipping, is when you ask a concierge simple question, like the address of a store. Are we expected to tip for this? 20seconds? On the other hand, a maid takes 15minutes or more to clean up a room. Yet the books in the past have suggested 1-2 euros a day. If a concierge or "?bellman" whistles for a taxi that is 20 feet away at a taxi stand, do you give them a euro. Do you save up until the end of your stay and give the concierge a larger amount? What if he isn't on duty when you leave? Sometimes I feel that some of them are happy doing their job, if you are patient and polite, and don't expect anything. Others are overtly obsequious, and tipping them makes me feel like I need a bath. Any comments?