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Top 10 French Gestures

Learn the most common and useful French gestures


My lessons on French gestures are among the most popular pages on my site, partly because gestures are so frequently used when speaking French, and partly because many gestures are not commonly taught in French classes. Among the dozens of gestures and facial expressions in my lessons, there are ten that really stand out.

1  Faire la bise
Greeting friends with an exchange of kisses is perhaps the most essential French gesture, and regional variations can make it somewhat tricky. Interestingly, this type of kissing is common in many cultures, yet many people associate it only with the French.

2  Bof
The Gallic shrug is (stereo)typically French.

3  Se serrer la main
Shaking hands is of course common in many countries, but the French way of doing it offers some interesting variations.

4  Un, deux, trois
The French system of counting on the fingers is a bit different.

5  Faire la moue
The pout is another oh-so-classic French gesture.

6  Barrons-nous
The French gesture for "let's get out of here!" is very common, but it's also familiar, so use it with care.

7  J'ai du nez
Tap your nose to say that you are clever or quick-thinking.

8  Du fric
I love this gesture for indicating that something is expensive.

9  Verre dans le nez
A funny way to indicate that someone has had too much to drink.

10  Mon œil
Americans express doubt by saying "my foot!" while the French use the eye instead.
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