Sunday, July 27, 2008

How many kisses ?

Here in France, it's common to greet people you meet by giving them a kiss on the cheeks & likewise, when you say goodbye. But exactly how times will depend on where you live. When I first moved to Ardeche, I had to condition myself to kiss everyone 3 times whereas in NY where I'd just lived for the past 4 years, the norm is just one peck. Then when I go to Paris, I have to remember that they only do it twice.

If you are ever in doubt, check out the map below. It's from this website Combien de bises ? One Frenchman, out of frustration (obviously he's not alone), developed the map, based on information submitted from people all over France. 2 seem to be the most common & as you can see, we're located in zone 3 & the north seem to be have a lot of 4 kisses.

But of course, this doesn't answer other perplexing questions like - With which cheek do you start ? Do you kiss when you meet somebody for the first time ? ....and this one because I wear glasses, do you remove your glasses when you kiss esp if the other person wears them too (to avoid the dreaded clinking of the glasses) ? Sigh who says living in France is easy.


Beth said...

Very useful. My family and I were in Brittany a few weeks ago and noticed that they only do 1 kiss - very unusual for France we thought!

meng said...

so whats the answers to the questions?

Start with right cheek or left cheek?

Should or should not kiss the first time u meet someone?

petite fleur said...

Hi Beth

Thank you for dropping by. You've got a yummy blog.

Yup you're right - Brittany is one of 2 places that do it only once.


Right or left ? Doesn't matter. Depends on what is being offered. I noticed that I tend to offer the left first.

First time you meet. Also depends. I always take my cue from the other person. If they offer their cheek, I kiss. If they offer their hand, I shake.

Michele said...

That was the cutest post I ever read! Love it!

petite fleur said...


Welcome. I love how you dedicated your blog in memory of your grandmother. Look forward to seeing more of your recipes.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Thanks for the post... well, not that I meet many French now. In the past, a French girl from Paris used to greet with three kisses. I always thought it was the case. Then I confused it with Polish custom, thinking they only kissed twice, but it's thrice on the cheeks. Guess it's easier with the Italians and Spaniards coz it's always twice.

petite fleur said...

I don't remember but do the Germans kiss on the cheeks ?

bACk in GERMANY said...

As far as I know, the correct German way is a handshake. Close friends hug.

But nowadays, young people do greet each other with a kiss or two on the cheeks, due to the supposed southern European influence?