When should you greet a friend with a kiss on the cheek? And how many? One, two, three? Or even five? And on which cheek should you start?
It's astonishing how much discussion there has been on this issue, even in the French press. Google "combien de bises en france" and see what comes up. Or just start here. Even The Economist has written on the subject. And this is from Le Parisien -- see, it's not just us that get it wrong!
On the Combiendebises home page or here you will find an interactive map of France. Run the cursor over a department and up pops the information on how many kisses and on which cheek is the norm in that department. A must-have link on your smart phone if you want to avoid banging noses because you've opted for the wrong cheek. A couple of clicks before diving in to kiss your new friend can save a lot of embarrassment!
You can even influence local customs by adding your own vote to the database. Now there's a thought. If all the Brits in France added their vote could we sow confusion in French ranks?