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Old Dec 1, 07, 4:54 am   #1
 
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Smile How-many-kisses-on-the-cheek guide by country

Somehow I don't think this is sticky material equivalent to SkiAdock's invaluable tipping guide, but it's interesting to read that the French, those masters of savoir-faire, are apparently unsure of how many kisses make for an appropriate greeting....

Kissing cousins: how they do it across Europe

The Netherlands begin and end on the same cheek. Three kisses are expected, but if greeting an elderly or close family member add a few more. Right cheek first

Italy kissing is restricted to very close friends or family. The number is optional and as there are no rules on which cheek to kiss first, there are frequent clashes

Belgium If the same age as the other person, one kiss is the rule. For someone ten years older, three is a mark of respect. This is hazardous if you are bad at judging ages

Spain, Austria and Scandinavia All are content with the two kisses ritual. In Spain the rule is strictly right cheek first

Germany tends to restrict kissing to family and very close friends. Handshakes predominate and all meetings begin and end with this formality


http://tinyurl.com/yusdb2
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Old Dec 1, 07, 5:30 am   #2
 
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I've heard friends of mine discuss whether the appropriate number of kisses in Munich is two or three (as compared to the 'outback' a few miles away).
I decided that moment seemed to be a good opportunitey to go get another beer.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 7:22 am   #3
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France is 2 and I can confirm that the Netherlands is 3.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 7:28 am   #4
 
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France is 2 and I can confirm that the Netherlands is 3.
In France, not only does the number of kisses vary from one to four depending on the region, but it also varies within regions. City centres and their peripheries, urban and rural communities and different social classes are all divided over how many kisses to give.

“It is very complex,” said Constance Rietzler, director of La Belle École in Paris, which provides lessons on French art de vivre. “There is a lot of confusion over this.”


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Old Dec 1, 07, 7:33 am   #5
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I don't know about La Belle École in Paris, but I live in France and have been to dinner parties in many regions of the country and it is always 2 cheeks.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 7:47 am   #6
 
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I don't know about La Belle École in Paris, but I live in France and have been to dinner parties in many regions of the country and it is always 2 cheeks.
Perhaps it's the circles in which you travel, i.e. your class:

Class distinctions also came into play. Mrs Rietzler said that the French upper classes preferred two kisses. Anyone planting three or more smackers on the cheeks of their host at a refined dinner would be committing a faux pas, she said.

http://tinyurl.com/yusdb2

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Old Dec 1, 07, 8:12 am   #7
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I have a friend whose life is split between the coastal region near Montpellier and Paris, and he always gives me three kisses, which I love. He looks a lot like a younger Richard Gere, even though they are about the same age, and he owns a winery. What more could one ask of in a man?
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Old Dec 1, 07, 8:13 am   #8
 
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I don't know about La Belle École in Paris, but I live in France and have been to dinner parties in many regions of the country and it is always 2 cheeks.
I'm a former resident of the 6eme, and what I was told, and I make no claims as to its correctness, is that two is the norm, and three is for folks from Brittany. YMMV.

As for Italy (background - I'm an Italian citizen), it's two, but I'd argue with the fact that it's only very close friends - it's appropriate between acquaintances of the opposite sex if you haven't seen each other in a while.

Last edited by sculler1x; Dec 2, 07 at 7:19 am. Reason: spelling
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Old Dec 1, 07, 8:29 am   #9
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As for Italy (background - I'm an Italian citizen), it's two, but I'd argue with the fact that it's only very close friends - it's appropriate between acquaintances of the opposite sex if you haven't seen each other in a while.
Exactly the same etiquette in Greece.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 8:46 am   #10
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When I used to live near Marseille, 3 tended to be more common. Generally, though, I would default to 2 everywhere in France unless I know the person well and what their expectation is.
Another peculiarity of the South East is that kisses between men who are close friends occasionally happen, whereas it would be pretty much a no-no elsewhere, except between gay friends.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 9:36 am   #11
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Perhaps it's the circles in which you travel, i.e. your class:

Class distinctions also came into play. Mrs Rietzler said that the French upper classes preferred two kisses. Anyone planting three or more smackers on the cheeks of their host at a refined dinner would be committing a faux pas, she said.
Well that implies that lower classes do three? Not true. I mix in all classes and it is always two. However I will admit that I've only been to Brittany on business and perhaps they do three there. It is an entirely different culture and they have their own language too.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 9:37 am   #12
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Another peculiarity of the South East is that kisses between men who are close friends occasionally happen, whereas it would be pretty much a no-no elsewhere, except between gay friends.
That happens pretty much everywhere in France for men who are close friends or family.
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Old Dec 1, 07, 11:22 am   #13
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That happens pretty much everywhere in France for men who are close friends or family.
I am surprised. In 25 years of living in France, I have only seen this among southerners, family members or with gay friends. You learn womething everyday .
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Old Dec 1, 07, 1:01 pm   #14
 
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I live in a very rural area of SW France and it is 2 kisses left side first. Or maybe they just put up with the stupid english speaker
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Old Dec 1, 07, 1:20 pm   #15
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When I went to school in Nantes, it was 4. My Breton friends say 3, as do those originally from the south of France. My Parisian friends are split -- most do 2, some do 4. Even they freely admit that they never know how many it should be, either.
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