How many kisses? Bisous? French greetings

In France when you greet a friend or a family member you don’t hug but you say hello with kisses.

Rule :

  • A man just give a hand to a man.
  • A woman can kiss a woman
  • A woman can kiss a man

Concerning the number of kiss : The general rule is 2. But as you can see on the map it depends according to the region. It can be 1, 2, 3 or 4. Personnaly I never see someone greet with 5 kisses.

If you kiss a friend, it means that you are a close friend. If a man shake the hand of a woman it means that the man or the woman want to keep a distance. But you have to feel it. The context is very important to know if you (a man) greet a woman with shaking hand or with a kiss. Never hug !!!

Concerning hug, slowly some people can start hugging. It is very rare but maybe this is influence of american films or english culture.

As a stranger, if you give your hand to greet someone you will never make a mistake. After a while if you are close and want to do like french, you can kiss. If someone start to greet you by kissing just accept.

Concerning the french language now when using TU and VOUS.

An other hard things impossible to explain is polite formule. Sometimes you have to say VOUS and sometimes TU. In the past VOUS was polite and TU casual but now it tends to be opposite. TU show a friendliness and proximity while VOUS shows a distance.

If you don’t know someone you can use vous, talking with a phone with someone you don’t know : use vous, in a shop use vous.

With your friends use tu. If you use vous with your friends, it is very rude and strange. It is like your friend is not your friend. If you start using vous and continue with tu, it means that you trust your friend and now you are closer.

If someone say vous, continue with vous, If someone say tu continue with tu.