A Cheese in Exchange for a French Kiss in France

Well, this is the account of a trip by the car on a vacation in France. On this occasion, I let myself be carried away by the recommendations of a tourist office about charming villages here. Of the rest of French towns that I see on that trip, I am not going to speak to you here but of the town of which I remember the best moment in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Perhaps and first of all, I must first explain French realities. In the first place, I am not talking about a French kiss. I am talking about a light kiss on the cheek between friends. There are between two and three kisses in the south of France and usually two in the north.

But there could also be four or only one, and who knows what happens if you meet someone from the south in the north. Therefore, carefully observe the person who is greeting you. If he or she bows, go for it, but let them guide you. And knowing this, you will understand why my moment with the French is called a cheese in exchange for a kiss.

Well, I arrived at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port after lunch. The idea was to spend the afternoon and then arrive at Bayonne at night. At the entrance of this village in the south-west of France, I see charming, typical medieval villages without castle but walled. There are narrow streets, all surrounded by mountains and are very green.

It is the last French town on the Camino de Santiago, and for that reason, there is a lot of references here to this whole subject. And of course, as tourists we were, I saw what there was to see. The church that, of course, is called NĂ´tre-Dame, is small and highlighted by the stained glass windows of its walls that had very intense colors. What else, a bridge famous for being a farewell to the pilgrims. Then I went for a walk around the wall. In short, I do what a tourist does there.

But also a tourist, I am curious and usually stop in everything that catches my attention. That day, in the main square of that little town, there was a kind of market in the street. It had handicrafts (many of them were cow figures) and edibles of all kinds of that region. It was very alive and full of people speaking French everywhere.

Well, from that flea market, I went to a French cheese stand that caught my attention. The place was very small, and the cheeses were protected by a glass. I could see them through it. In a zone of the position, I see a French girl in her thirties. She is tall, and thin, wearing an apron. She is neither very good looking nor ugly.

Normally, what is done in these places is that they usually give you a small piece of cheese for free to try. If you like it, you can buy it or leave it. But, oh, hell! In my case, that little girl did not want to give it to me for free. The French girl told me she wanted me to try the piece of cheese in exchange for a kiss.

At first, I play the fool and I pretend that I do not understand what she says. But of course, it was a little late for me to get up and her language of gestures indicated me to the place where I had to give it to her. And the place was not the cheeks but the lips.

The situation was, if I give her a kiss I can try the cheese and if not, then I cannot try it, but I should buy it directly. I cannot stop thinking at that time of the sales marketing techniques of that French girl in particular.

What do you do in those circumstances? You kiss, or you dismiss the French girl (that is, without saying goodbye). Well, at the end of the story, I do not know if it was what you had done in my place or what you expected to happen. But I told her that the custom in my country was to give two kisses.

In the end, the French girl seemed fine. We greeted each other. She introduced herself (I do not even remember her name). She gave me a piece of I do not remember what cheese she was cutting, and I tried it. At the end, I indicated her that I was going to keep seeing the rest of the market and then I would buy it.

And what happened, what do you think, because I did not buy the cheese? I thought that bringing typically sweet French cheeses was not the most convenient for the car trip afterward.

Even so, it is a moment that for me is inevitable to remember every time I see a cheese. And a kiss in exchange for cheese has a rhyme. I hope you liked it since I cannot help but smile when I remember it and summarize it in a Vive la France!
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  • Jeevan
    Jeevan May 7, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Your post expresses the beauty of kiss! How sweet...

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