Forum Rocket French French Culture and Travel Do all people kiss you on the cheek in France?

Do all people kiss you on the cheek in France?


Okay, so I just learned that when you meet someone you kiss them on the cheek in France (almost like a handshake). Do you do this to a stranger though? Like let's say your a accountant in France. Your new client comes in and (in America you would do a handshake) you have never met her. Would you kiss her on the cheek? If you met someone who you wanted to be friends with like your friend's friend you would kiss on the cheek? I know in Portugal that is reserved for family but what about France. When you walk into the hotel does the doorman kiss you on the cheek? What about the manager. Do you kiss people on the cheek just like a handshake or is it only for family and friends. When you meet someone in the store do you kiss them like a handshake. Thanks so much for answering my question in advance!


Good questions! My observation is as as follows: that you never never never kiss the cheek of a stranger. when you become friends with a couple, you will kiss cheeks of the woman but not the man until you are really close. "Staff" does not kiss customer, except perhaps the head man to a favored woman customer when she would receive it as a compliment, particularly if she is of a certain age. Handshakes for strangers, both men and women. Outside of Paris I've noticed that the kissing goes beyond twice, to three, even four - esp. when it's someone dear to you that you haven't seen for a long while.

toru e

Haha, yes, my tutor is from the south of France and she says that they're the <i>quatre bises</i> variety there! :) Also, among friends, the general rule is men <i>serrer la main</i> to each other, women <i>faire la bise</i> to each other, and men will <i>faire la bise</i> to women.


good question , guess this is in some other culture, in Rocket Spanish they said the same for greeting in Latin America. but i guess it is not in all situation


I know this is a bit dated but I thought I would add a note or two. As an American, just make sure you do not hug the person before, during or after. We travel to France fairly often and know the French are not into the hugs like us Americans. If not sure if you should kiss on the cheek, just let the French person initiate. I also just stick to cheek to cheek touching, no real kiss is given.

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