Here, men mostly shake hands with each other with optional back-slapping, but men kiss women. Everyone kisses children: both sexes hold up their faces to be kissed.
So our friend Alain from Auxerre shakes hands enthusiastically with my husband John, while I am treated to la bise.
How does one find out this kind of information relatively soon into the relationship?
Miss Graham, our headmistress in the 1950s, frowned upon what she called PDAs: public displays of affection.
PDAs are ubiquitous here, in the form of kissing and vigorous handshaking and even hugging – in the street, in the doctor's waiting room, in the supermarket.
Miss Graham would shudder, but when I meet Pierre and Nicole in Aldi, la bise as an expression of mutual respect and affection rules OK.
A little online research will lead you to items like To Kiss or Not to Kiss and Faire la Bise: The Art of the Parisian Double Air Kiss.
So there we were, looking forward to the 2013 season, when I clicked on the Telegraph Expat website – and found that Charity Cottage had won the British Charity category of Best of British!
This article was originally published in The Telegraph Weekly World Edition.Amazingly, however, I have had just one cold since we arrived here in 2005. My theory, however, is that the absence of mouth-to-mouth contact explains this.And now to Charity Cottage, our home from home in the Morvan.The number (from two to four or even, I am told, five in Corsica) depends less on the degree of affection or acquaintance than on the region.I even found a map of France on the web, showing the number of kisses current in each region.In my experience, la bise does not spread contagion.