FAQs for French greetings
How do you use La Bise to greet someone?
The famous “bise” is unavoidable in France - COVID aside. While it can be unsettling for travelers, you can’t say you've been to France until you kiss - or air kiss - someone on both cheeks. And it’s not just for casual greetings. While shaking hands is common in the French business world, it’s not unusual to see coworkers, male or female, "se faire la bise".
Did you know? The amount of kisses and the direction varies according to the region. When in doubt, wait for the other person to start and you will avoid an uncomfortable situation. If it happens, don’t worry! It happens to French people too.
What are some French greeting faux-pas?
Getting confused between "tu" and "vous": While this problem does not exist in English, it’s important to learn how to use the right level of politeness in France. “Vous” is more formal, and generally used between people who don’t know each other. In doubt, always use “vous” and ask the person : “Puis-je vous tutoyer?” (Can I use “tu” with you?)
Hugging instead of La Bise: La bise can be unsettling for many visitors. Well, for French people, a hug can be perceived as an invasion of their personal space and is only used with family, partners or very close friends.
And speaking of faux-pas, these cultural don’ts to attend a dinner party in France might help you to avoid“mettre les pieds dans le plat” (to put one's foot in one's mouth).
We hope this article not only taught you to say hello in French, but also the basics of French culture. Equipped with these greeting tools, there is no doubt you will create a great first impression the next time you meet a French speaker.
The only thing left to say is : Au revoir et à bientôt !