How many kisses make up a greeting in France?
That’s a good question and it depends greatly upon where you are in France.
It’s a fundamental part of living in France that can leave foreigners a little flummoxed.
“La bise” is the way people greet each other by exchanging kisses on the cheek.
In France, cheek kissing is called “faire la bise”.
A popular French joke states that you may recognize the city you are in by counting the number of cheek kisses, as it varies across the country.
It is very common, in the southern parts of France, even between males, be they relatives or friends, whereas in the north, it is less usual for two unrelated males to perform ′la bise′. The custom came under scrutiny during the H1N1 epidemic of 2009.
Generally speaking, women will kiss both women and men, while men will kiss women but refrain from kissing other men, unless they are close friends or relatives, instead preferring to shake hands with strangers.
However, it depends where you are in France as to how many kisses are given – from one in Finisterre in Brittany up to 5 in Corsica.
Where does this beloved tradition come from? And what are the rules? Genie Godula and Florence Villeminot teach you the basics of “bise etiquette” and how to avoid giving an unintentional French kiss.
Incidentally, La Bise is also the name of a cold, dry wind in Switzerland which blows through the Swiss Plateau from the northeast to the southwest.
How many bises according to region in France