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🅲 Faire la bise en France – French greeting kiss

La bise est LE baiser de bienvenue français que vous devez connaître !

La bise is THE French greeting kiss you need to know about!

faire la bise - French greeting kiss



10 minutes

Écrit par / Written by: Anthony Lucas

Dernière révision / Last update: 10 April 2024

La bise ? Qu’est-ce que c’est ? – La bise ? What’s that?

In France, la bise is a way of saying hello and/or goodbye. This French greeting kiss consists of giving (and receiving at the same time) 2, 3, 4 or even 5 kisses on the cheeks.

La bise is not systematically given to every person you meet. If you go to buy your baguette at the boulangerie, you won’t kiss the baker or all the customers present. No, la bise is reserved for friends and family.

This French greeting kiss is not exclusive to women. Of course, two female friends will kiss each other, but so will a man and a woman who are good friends, and even 2 male friends.

La bise française expliquée en vidéo – French greeting kiss explained in video

Paul Taylor – La bise

🇫🇷 Cet humoriste anglais basé à Paris est Paul Taylor. Il s’est révélé au public français avec cette vidéo en ligne La Bise. La vidéo, qui se voulait une promotion pour une soirée d’humour anglophone à Paris, a été mise en ligne le 1er janvier 2016 et compte plus de 3 millions de vues. Filmée en un seul plan-séquence, La Bise se moque de cette tradition française et servira de modèle pour les futurs épisodes de What the Fuck France.

🇬🇧 This English comedian based in Paris is Paul Taylor. He revealed himself to French audiences with this online video La Bise. The video, which was intended as a promotion for an English-language comedy evening in Paris, was posted online on 1 January 2016 and has over 3 million views. Filmed in a single sequence shot, La Bise pokes fun at this French tradition and will serve as a model for future episodes of What the Fuck France.

Comment faire la bise – How to faire la bise?

When you fais la bise, your lips don’t really kiss the other person’s cheeks. In fact, your cheeks make contact and at the same time you give a kiss in the air, with or without the sound of a kiss (everyone has developed their own way of faire la bise 😽).

De quel côté commencer ? – Which side should you start from?

Good question! The most popular way to give the French greeting kiss is to present the right cheek. But it’s not an absolute rule.

Combien de baisers ? – How many kisses do you need to give?

How many greeting kisses you should give depends mainly on where you are in France.

As you can see on the map opposite, 2 kisses should be enough most of the time 😅

Carte de France des bises

You should know that even the French don’t always know how their bise is going to go, because it’s a team effort and you don’t always know your team-mate! Honestly, stop worrying and go with the flow. Observe, understand, adapt 😉

La bise, or not la bise, that is the question…

La bise is not the only way to greet someone in France. Adopting the right behaviour is a science as it depends on many factors:

  • The context / the place: Are you invited to a party? In a bar or at someone’s place? Do you say hello at work? To the colleague sitting next to you? To your boss?
  • The person: Do you already know this person? Is he/she a close friend? A total stranger? A friend of a friend? Is this person the same gender as you?
  • Your mood: Do you feel like sharing this intimate moment with someone you find dirty and repulsive? Or on the contrary, do you want to get closer to this pretty male/female and show him your sensuality?

Roughly speaking, as I mentioned before, la bise is done with friends and family. Anyway, if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, it’s best to wait and see what the other person does, then you adapt.

Here are the other options to greet in France:

Serrer la main – Shaking hands

Shaking hands is a good way of avoiding getting too close. Of course there is contact, but it’s with the hands, so a certain distance is maintained.

Shaking hand in French - serrer la main

Hocher la tête – Nodding

It is always possible to stay away from the other person and avoid all contact. To avoid being completely rude, it’s best to at least say “bonjour and just nod.

L’accolade n’est pas une option – A hug is not an option

Personally, I love hugging because it shows real closeness and human warmth through the contact of the two bodies. But it’s clearly not a French habit to hug each other. In fact, it’s extremely rare. Hugs are usually reserved for couples.



Lots of explanations here for just saying hello to someone … Don’t worry, there’s no official diploma for saying hello in France 😅

Just observe and imitate others.

Scroll down and…

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