- Title: Missing kissing, Parisians say "la bise" is back
- Date: 28th September 2021
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 23, 2021) (REUTERS) BITAR AND GULESSARIAN KISSING EACH OTHER ON CHEEKS (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARISIAN, NATALIE BITAR, SAYING: "I stopped kissing people on the cheeks during COVID due to social distancing, but now I'm doing 'la bise' to people I know, but only to loved ones, not people I don't really know well." PEOPLE DOING 'LA BISE' PEOPLE SMILING OUTDOOR BAR (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARISIAN, AURIANE GULESSARIAN, SAYING: "It means, it's not that it's the end (of COVID), but we are getting back to what life was before, in terms of proximity, social ties, etc." GOVERNMENT WORKER VINCENT SEZNEC DOING LA BISE, SHAKING HANDS PEOPLE GATHERED ON THE BANKS OF THE SEINE RIVER (SOUNDBITE) (French) GOVERNMENT WORKER VINCENT SEZNEC, SAYING: "The vaccination helped a lot, from the point in time when we did it to protect of others, which is more important, to protect others. Besides that, I see no reason to not do it. Better to be vaccinated and to be able to kiss each other than not to be vaccinated and not kiss each other." SEZNEC DOING 'LA BISE' TO FRIEND (SOUNDBITE) (French) GOVERNMENT WORKER VINCENT SEZNEC, SAYING: "We were a little afraid that this ritual will disappear, that we will lose this practice to COVID, and it's a trend that I'm noticing in general, that I've personally noticed, that fewer people are doing 'la bise' even before COVID."
- Embargoed: 12th October 2021 12:31
- Keywords: French La bise greeting kiss
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- City: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- Country: France
- Topics: Europe,Human-Led Quirky,Human-Led Stories
- Reuters ID: LVA007EWMUPTZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS PROFANITY IN SHOTS 23 AND 25
France's traditional "la bise" greeting - a kiss on each cheek - is slowly making a comeback as the coronavirus recedes.
Bestowed on family, friends, or anyone else in an informal setting, "la bise" was de facto banned at the height of the pandemic.
But with more than 70% of the population fully vaccinated, people can once more be seen planting what are usually just air kisses by a kissing sound on each other's cheeks.
"Better to be vaccinated and to be able to kiss each other than not to be vaccinated and not kiss each other," civil servant Vincent Seznec said, beer in hand, after greeting friends with a "bise."
Parisians Anna and Carmela, after embracing and kissing each other's cheeks, said they could not agree more.
"It's a great sign of affection and of welcoming the other," Anna said.
Carmela dearly missed "la bise" - 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 do not kiss or shake hands to help reduce contagion risks, can now occasionally be seen "faire la bise".
However, several Parisians said things will never be quite the same. For one thing, people are more selective - and it has become easier to say you do not want to kiss someone on the cheeks.
"I'm doing 'la bise' again but only to loved ones, not people I don't really know well," Natalie Bitar said.
But for Paris-based British comedian Paul Taylor, whose YouTube video, a sketch on "la bise," went viral, there is no doubt the comeback has started and it's here to stay.
"When I do my show, I ask the audience, by way of applause, 'who has done 'la bise' since COVID'? The whole room applauds."
(Production: Yiming Woo)
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