"les bises" in France

Has any one in the Je ne sais quoi group ever wondered how to manage the issue of "bises "when you meet someone in France? Do you wonder what to do?

It can be 4 also ; sometimes between air and cheek, sometimes frankly cheek. For me it is something I really miss when away.

Hahahahahaha! What a scene that must've been. Hilarious!

I like what one person said, do 2 then wait to see if the other person goes in for more.

About the air vs. full lip to cheek contact. Kind of the same at above would be my technique. That is, do one third to one half lip to cheek contact and follow what other person does. Unless of course the other person wants too much contact for your comfort level.

We expats need to embrace the country's customs, but if you don't feel comfortable in the lip/cheek contact, I don't think they notice when you MERELY touch cheeks and kiss the air. French natives do that all the time, let's not forget!

Vic, that is too funny!

Our neighbour insists on giving me a full on smacker on the lips. Mind you, compared to her old man I'm a young Adonis ;-)

my friend of 67 from normandy gives 4, another from paris is 3.. my Dordonge neighbours 2..and a friend from holland 2..and one on the lips..shhhhh..

Hello everyone!

I am enjoying reading the posts and comments about "Les Bises" How interesting, and how funny!

As many times as I have been to France from a very early age, it seems that there is some truth to the Enjoyment of bodily contact! It takes me few days to remember that it is OK for a complete stranger to do LA BISE!!!

I got accustomed to les bises from living with and amongst French Canadians in Montreal, but there it is strictly for friends and family, not new acquaintances, and I never saw it in the workplace. Here in Nice, I'll never forget the night a few months ago when a piece of concrete fell from the rooftop of a building and crashed onto the street below. The police, firemen, SAMU, they all arrived within minutes, a least a dozen vehicles, lights flashing, sirens blaring, and blocked off all traffic in the street. I watched this from a friend's balcony high above, eagerly anticipating seeing them jump into action and wondering what sort of equipment they'd brought along. But first things first: les bises. All around. And don't forget a single man. Thuglike policemen bristling with arms and walkie-talkies, towering, swaggering firemen with axes and ropes, they all did the rounds, giving each other les bises, like they were old, dear friends that hadn't seen one another in 20 years. It took at least 10 minutes. It's a good thing no one was hanging off the edge of the building by their fingers. I'm still laughing about it. It's a sight I'll never forget. I'm trying to imagine Bruce Willis in the Diehard films. How would he have handled this? :-)


I tend to just bump people on the cheek, with my cheek.... making the smacking sound of a kiss on both bumps... I have noticed though, some people only make the sond on the first kiss, and others only make it on the second.. and some do both...

Do not forget, if both bisouers wear glasses it is polite to remove them before setting out on the bisoux to avoid clashing.

On first meeting, you just shake hands. Then this is how it seems to be--- one kiss is considered rude. Two is fine, only four if you are close friends or family. (let them start it off)If two women are kissing, and wearing glasses, the youngest removes hers as a mark of respect so that you dont clash. If it's male -female, the man removes his glasses.Little children very sweetly put their faces up to be kissed as well, unlike in UK,where 'no touching' is the norm of course! Old guys sometimes go for four if they think they can get away with it ! Bon chance !

Living in an area with lots of Brits, it amuses me to see that all us Brits here have taken on the French kissing habit, whenever we meet - 2 kisses only, though...

Personably I love it. Here in Isere it's 2, and otherwise if you want to know look here. I have friend from Charente who lives here but does three, so she's an anomaly that I have to remember.

The rules seem to be to never assume someone will want to, tread carefully, but once you start with someone you must always do it.

As for illnesses, people don't do it when they are I'll. So I don't see that as a problem.

In Alsace, two. And cheeks touch.

Disgusting habit! That along with shaking "sneezed on" hands is the reason everybody in France has colds or 'flu. I think we should all act like true Brits & simply bow to one another thus avoiding all bodily contact .

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definitely 4 in Normandie and cheeks touch.

Why would they be offended, Sandy? I think your reaction was very charming, warm and sincere. What more do you want?

3-2-4 … it also depends on where the person you meet is originally from.

In the Aveyron it was 4, in les Landes two or 3.

Depends on the person your greeting :slight_smile: