Most people know or have heard of “la bise” as a French form of greeting. But what is “la bise” exactly and most importantly, how does it work? If you are one of the many people left discombobulated by the mysterious Gallic custom, read ahead!
First things first, who on earth came up with such a silly idea?
Well, apparently, it is all the Romans’ fault as they would be the ones who started this curious business! They used to have three different types of kisses: the romantic kiss (saevium), the religious or friendly kiss (osculum) and finally the greeting kiss (basium – word at the origin of the French word “bise”) which they would use in a very similar manner the French do today.
And though kissing was actually banned in France during the Plague for obvious health and safety reasons, the “bise” resurfaced during WW1 to never leave again!
These days, “faire la bise” is pretty much a social convention.
Let me introduce you to Paul Taylor.
Paul is English. He grew up in France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
He now lives in Paris and quit a job at Apple in order to perform stand-up comedy in both English and French.
He created, wrote and starred his own show on Canal+ called “What the Fuck France!” (excuse my French…). And if you have not heard of it yet, then you really should! In these short and funny videos, the popular youtuber dissects French habits with typical British humour.
His first video “La bise” (“The kiss on the cheek”) hit over 2 million views!!
With my boys in Paris in 2015
My friend Andrea called me last week to “pick my brain” about places of interest that she could visit and activities she could do with her three boys when visiting Paris next July. But not just the usual stuff! Something a bit more off the beaten track…
As I started to browse the Internet finding some really fun activities to do with children, I realised that this information might actually be of interest to travelling families. So, here is a list of 8 cool things to do in Paris with little people! And no, we are not talking EuroDisney… Continue reading
Call me old(-fashioned) but I just cannot get into abbreviating what I type! So, yes, it takes me for-e-ver….
When I see my kids’ texts, I am just amazed at this whole new language they seem to be using with such ease!
And I feel very very old(-fashioned)…
So here is a list of common French text abbreviations you (and I) might find useful:
In France, the 11th of November is a major national day and a remembrance day.
This public holiday actually commemorates the Fête de la victoire which is when the Armistice was signed on the 11th of November 1918. And though it was originally a day to honour those who had served during the First World War, it has become a day to remember and honour all who served to defend France during wars.
The commemoration is observed by all municipalities, with a blue, white and red wreath being placed on each war memorial.
The Bleuet de France (cornflower) is the flower that was chosen by the French to commemorate that day as this is the flower which was on the battlefields and as it is the same colour as the soldiers’ (les poilus) uniform.
At 11 o’clock, of the 11th day of the 11th month, the country also stopped for two minutes silence. The first minute is dedicated to all the soldiers who died and the second minute, to the living left behind.
Every year, on the 1st of April, it is a common joke in France amongst children to try and stick a paper fish on their friends’ back without them noticing. When discovered, the person pulling the prank shouts: “Poisson d’avril!”
Grown-ups’ “poissons d’avril” consist in making up fake news or practical jokes. Even the media have a go!
This tradition dates back to 1564 when Charles IX changed the calendar year from the 1st of April to the 1st of January. At first, many people did not accept the change and carried on celebrating the new year on the 1st of April. Those who had embraced the new calendar started to mock the reluctant ones by playing tricks on them.
So, why a fish?