France’s traditional “la bise” greeting – a kiss on each cheek – is slowing its return as the coronavirus recedes.
Attributed to family, friends or any other person in an informal setting, “the kiss” was de facto prohibited at the height of the pandemic.
But with over 70% of the population fully vaccinated, we can again see people planting what are usually just overhead kisses with a sound of kissing on each other’s cheeks.
“We had stopped to respect social distancing, but it’s a ritual that I like a lot,” said civil servant Vincent Seznec, beer in hand, after greeting friends with a “kiss”.
As he is vaccinated, he sees no reason not to do so again.
“It’s better to get the shot and kiss than not to get the shot and not to kiss,” he said.
Parisians Anna and Carmela, after kissing and kissing on the cheeks, said they couldn’t agree more.
“It’s a great sign of affection and welcoming from each other,” said Anna. “It means to be together.”
Carmela missed “the kiss” a lot – especially when her 32-year-old daughter stopped kissing her for fear of transmitting COVID-19.
“Ohhhhhhhhh, it was so sad,” Carmela said.
Even President Emmanuel Macron, who had recommended people not to kiss or shake hands to help reduce the risk of contagion, can now sometimes be seen as “kissing”.
However, several Parisians said things would never be quite the same again.
On the one hand, people are more selective – and it just got easier to tell you don’t want to kiss someone on the cheek.
“I’m kissing again, but only to my relatives, not to people I don’t really know that well,” said Natalie Bitar.
And student Elisa Mayor said that in her generation, “the kiss” was already not so popular, even before COVID-19. “We tend to say hello from afar,” she said.
But for Paris-based British comedian Paul Taylor, who rose to fame years ago with a sketch about “the kiss”, which he called “one of the things that bothers me the most about living here” , there is no doubt that the comeback has begun. and he’s here to stay.
“Of course it’s back,” he said. “When I do my show I ask the audience in applause who’s been kissing since covid, the whole room applauds.”
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