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February 12, 2006


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Social customs are so interesting. One of my friends married a woman from Holland, and we somehow all adapted to the kissing greeting. It was funny because we had never been a very "touchy" bunch before that.


Hilarious! I think the bises or not to bises is a personal space issue with Americans. And what about the number of bises? My Frog's family is from Nantes and they do 4, we have some friends who do 3, others 2. I can never get it right, even after 5 years. And then there are the kissy bises people--those who actually plant a wet smacker on your cheek. AGH! On ne s'en sort plus!


I have the same problem as Stefanie. La famille de mon chum (my bf for all you non-Quebecois speakers) likes to give 3. That's really only his immediate family, though. So when we're at bigger gatherings, I go for the 3rd and people get all confused. When I was living in the Canary Islands, 2 was the norm. If I'm with Anglo folk in Toronto, we tend to give hugs. Little bises in that context somehow seems pretentious.


love the foto and the story, girl! =D *kiss*kiss*


giving les bises is very popular in miami too because of the influence of the predominantly latino culture. i actually say "muah!" softly everytime i give les bises because of nervousness... still learning.


AHHHHH the kiss...I remember that from my short vacay in France as well as my vacay in Bulgaria....it's a little strange but I guess no stranger than bowing in Korea. In fact, I still do it every once in a while when I enter a shop and the shop lady says "hello" right away.

Andre Veloux

Les Bises, good fun and contagious arent they? I was in a bar yesterday with some friends (about 6 all male), when 3 of their partners came in. The ensuing bisouing took about 10 minutes. And to think there wasn't a francais amongst us! We were all native english speakers!


You speak with no accent? Lucky dog.


I still find it hard sometimes to do the whole kissing thing. Depending on what region of France you are in, it can start on the left, or right cheek. And let's not forget it can be 1 to 2 kisses (or more) per cheek. That just adds to the confusion!


I am American, but from New Orleans, and we do kisses there, to friends and strangers (just like in France -- non-business setting strangers, that is) but only one kiss. like everyone else, in France, my question is always HOW MANY? and how do I know how many?


good call on that one... I have gotten used to the two-cheek bis when I am in the Hexagon, but since I go to a Spanish congregation and am constantly around Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, I have gotten used to the one-cheek beso as well... Among my american friends, we usually hug, which is something I found doesn't work in France, as they apparently consider that an invasion of their personal space... but that's ok. (And having heard your French, yeah, it's pretty much perfect. Chui jaloux.)



Je m'appelle Shirley, je travaille pour un magazine de débat diffusé sur France 2. Je prépare actuellement une émission sur le thème des français et françaises.

Serais-tu intéresser de venir enrichir le débat sur notre plateau en venant nous parler des filles françaises. Leur réputation de chaudasse est -elle justifiée selon toi ? Les français sont -ils obsédés par la séxualité ?

Ou pour tout autre témoignage autour de ce thème, je suis joignable au



I was married to a Northern Ontario Frenchman ... huge population of french in Sudbury, ON. They do the kiss, kiss. I, myself enjoy my personal space, so it took me awhile to get used to it.
Montreal, PQ they do that too. I find alot of italians I know do it too.
(I'm Jeff Brownson's cousin from Toronto).

Asian Lep

I love giving kisses. So much so, they call me the "kissing bandit"

They're so much better than hugs. Less bodily contact, plus you can more easily conceal hatred and dislike.


Hum, en ce qui concerne le nombre de bises, le nombre correct est 2! 3 ou 4, ça fait vraiment paysan, peut importe la région. Le pb, c'est que même les français ne le savent pas généralement...
En tout cas, maintenant que je n'habite plus en France, je dois me "déshabituer" de la bise, et c'est super difficile!


My rule of thumb is to go in for two and if they go to do the third, fourth or whatever I just follow suite. In Paris, it's two kisses!


As Stefanie and others, even french people don't know how (2,3,4) bises to do.
It often depends on the where you are from, where you llive and even on social category sometimes....
I don't know myself and just say to people :"for me it's just two" and wait for the reaction.
About the the real "smack" on the cheek, I personnaly do it with people I know very well: I would say they are considered as family member. And only them.

PS: tres bon post, vraiment.


Hi Aimee, I've been going back through your archives. I wanted to tell you that your writing really touched me, especially about losing your mother.

Then I came upon this post, and I definitely need to drop you a line! I did a google image search when I wrote about "la bise" on my own blog, looking for a photo to demonstrate. When I finally found one, I nicked it... now I see that it came from *your* blog!


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