Un bisou, deux bisous, trois bisous…

When I arrived in Brussels, my roommate met me at the airport. Out of habit, I gave her the traditional “bisou bisou”, one kiss on either cheek, left and then right. I already knew this was different from France, where they also give two kisses, but start on the right cheek. In Belgium, it is different still, as I realized a few days later when I met a friend of a friend for the first time. I went to give him two kisses, starting on the left, as he went to the right to give me just one. We nearly collided and it made for an awkward moment as I explained that in Québec we have a different “bise”. 

Something else I have noticed in Belgium is that men also give the “bise” when they meet each other, especially good friends. This is not common in Québec or in France where the bise is only given between very good male friends, if at all.

“Bise” etiquette:

>> Belgium: 1 kiss on the right cheek (but can vary I am told)
>> France: 2 kisses, start on the right
>> Québec: 2 kisses, start on the left
>> Switzerland: 3 kisses…


2 thoughts on “Un bisou, deux bisous, trois bisous…

  1. Hahaha that’s a really funny observation! I know exactly how you feel. The other day, confused by all the Latin-Americans I’m meeting, I tried to give the “bises” to a Czech guy and he turned away and awkwardly, flushed told me that he had a girlfriend 😛

    • Thanks for reading :).

      The first time I met our Swiss friend in Paris he gave me the Swiss three kisses and it also surprised me. I think it is interesting that we all have such similar – but different – ways of saying hello!

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