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“The French Sleep More, But Do They Kiss More?”

It’s all over the news and everyone is getting a good laugh! According to a report published Monday by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the French spend more time eating and sleeping than any other “habitants of any other highly developed country.”

In brief, the report surveying 18 countries, concludes that the French sleep an average of nine hours every night, about 30 minutes longer than the average American and over an hour longer than the Japanese and Koreans. (Guess I haven’t yet ‘crossed the cultural divide’ — I sleep only about six hours a night.)

The report also noted that the French spend more than two hours a day eating, twice the time spent by people in Mexico, Canada and the United States. (Actually, I thought that seemed LOW! It takes two hours just to have lunch, much less breakfast and dinner!) In spite of the time it takes them to down their meals, obesity is tops in the U.S. of A. and the Turkish are busy socializing — spending 35% of their time compared to the average of 11%). The Mexicans and Japanese have the least amount of leisure time among the 30 OECD members. Surprised?

One article joked that the report proves that the French “excel at more than kissing” — so, does that mean it’s generally thought the French are the best lovers? Not a bad reputation to have, right?

And guess what? The French live the second longest, to the age of 84.4 for women and 77.3 for men, compared to Japan who outlives us all to the ages of 85.8 and 79 respectively. It must be all that sleeping, eating and kissing keeping them living longer! Sadly, Americans manage to shave more years off their lives with an age of 80.4 for women and 75.2 for men.

So, what does all this mean? Well, I suppose from a business standpoint, one might open a restaurant or start selling mattresses. I’ve noticed there is a shortage of availability of alarm clocks (I recently went on a hunt for an alarm clock and virtually came up empty except for overpriced complicated versions) — and now I know why.

Where in France do they kiss the most?
Map by Gilles Debunne

But, let’s get back to the kissing. According to Gilles Debunne, who set out to resolve the question in 2007 of how much kissing the French actually do, set up a Web site to ask how many times a French person kisses the other’s cheeks, by “département.” And here’s what he found:

* One kiss is the preferred option in only two départements: Finistère at the western tip of Brittany and Deux-Sèvres in the Poitou-Charentes region.

* Elsewhere in Poitou-Charentes, three kisses are preferred: in the departments of Vienne and Charente. The largest block of three-kiss-départements is located in the southeast. “Trois bises” (three kisses) are the thing to do in Ardèche, Aveyron, Cantal, Drôme, Haute Loire, Hautes Alpes, Hérault, Gard, Lozère and Vaucluse.

* Four kisses are “de rigueur” (the norm) in a large region in northeastern France. Apart from the isolated coastal département of Pas de Calais, this is a contiguous area, consisting of 22 départements from Normandy to the Belgian border: Ardennes, Aube, Calvados, Eure, Eure et Loire, Haute Marne, Indre, Indre et Loire, Loire et Cher, Loire Atlantique, Loiret, Maine et Loire, Manche, Marne, Mayenne, Orne, Sarthe, Seine et Marne, Seine-St-Denis, Val d’Oise, Vendée and Yonne.

* The rest of the country is two-kisses territory, apart from the same département in northeast Paris that stood out by turning Royal red amidst a sea of Sarkozy blue in the first round of the French presidential elections.

Glad to know my usual two-kiss habit is correct in Paris!

The report is fascinating and makes great bedtime reading. For a chapter by chapter look, click here.

Or, it can be purchased in its entirety by clicking here.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Don’t miss out on the May Day Play Day Pay Day Special! Subscribe to French Property Insider for just $1 per day the entire month of May 2009 — $31 for 50 great issues! Visit French Property Insider for more information and to subscribe today!

P.P.S. See you next Tuesday at Parler Paris Après Midi! Visit Parler Paris Aprs Midi for more location and times.


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