Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

The Traveling Adjunct–Feb. 16, 2018

Greeting Each Other with the Right Number of Kisses… in France!

wine corks in a heart Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about an issue that baffled me when I lived in France–  how many kisses you’re supposed to give someone when greeting them.

Living in France was awesome! And while I was able to conquer the French language (mostly), one of the great mysteries of my time living there was how many kisses you’re supposed to give when greeting someone– 2, 3, 4?  What happens if you give someone the wrong number of kisses? Are you banished to smooch purgatory? Which cheek do you start with– the right or the left?  And how did all this kissing come about anyway?  It was way more confusing to me than learning the language!

A few years ago, I came across a chart in a French newspaper, called “Combien de Bises.”  In English, that means “how many kisses.” Why didn’t someone think of this before!?! The chart breaks down the number of kisses given…by department! Uh, department?  Continue reading