And you, how many kisses do you usually give your loved ones when you see them?
If, since the advent of barrier gestures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, this very French way of greeting seems to have fewer followers, it is nonetheless a specificity of our territories.
Abroad, people often make fun of this practice, considered “too intimate” or not hygienic enough. Never mind, the French have been practicing the art of la bise for too many years to get rid of it like this. But where exactly does this tradition come from?
The kiss would be part of the customs since the Middle Ages, where it was usual, although not always systematic. The concept then developed as a real ritual, marking the beginning as well as the end of an encounter. Above all, the bise would provide a feeling of belonging to a community, and would participate in a culture of proximity, shared with a handful of “chosen” individuals. Because we don’t kiss everyone!
However, is the bise likely to disappear in an increasingly uncertain health context? Today, many people no longer practice it, for fear of contamination.
It would not be the first time that the tradition has evolved. “”Not so long ago, twenty or thirty years, kisses between men were reserved for an intimate sphere, within the family, and not with colleagues or friends. Mores and social codes are changing”, explained Dominique Picard, psycho-sociologist, to franceculture.
In France, we don’t kiss the same way everywhere either. It is well known, each region has its preference, its habits, so much so that you can quickly get lost. One, two, three, or four kisses…
The site francaisdenosregions.com carried out a survey and compiled the data in a map, “la carte des bises”. We invite you, in our slideshow, to discover the 14 departments where you have to do four.