French in Luxembourg

Greetings and Partings

Two people greeting each other

Due to the diversity of the population in Luxembourg, it is often difficult to know exactly the right greeting to use. Given that the culture tends to be restrained, one is always safe in simply offering a handshake and, when speaking French, to use the formal second plural person pronoun. Then, if the other person wants to familiarize the greeting, s/he can shift to the familiar form of the pronoun and pull you in for anywhere from one to three kisses.

Between close friends, who have not seen each other for a while, three kisses might be exchanged, starting with the right cheek. Between girls and women, or men and women who see each other more frequently, there might simply be a hug or a single kiss. When greeting one another, boys and men offer a handshake. When greeting an elder, or for any formal greeting, a handshake is used along with the formal second person pronoun.

Even among friends who have greeted each other with a kiss, a handshake is most common when saying goodbye.