It's a tradition that dates back to Roman times, survived the Black Death, and flourished after the storming of the Bastille, but the ultimate French kiss - one peck on each cheek - may soon be phased out for good.
Many hope the traditional greeting, known as "la bise", will never be revived even as the threat of Covid recedes.
A survey has found more than half of the French population said they were done using la bise altogether. More than 75 per cent of respondents said they would only continue to use it with people they were close to, including family members.
La bise was put on ice during the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Now with restrictions being lifted and vaccinations continuing to climb, some French have started using the greeting again, but are being met with vehement opposition.
It is an “exhausting, violent, and intrusive” activity “that only creates misery,” wrote Paul Douard, the editor-in-chief of the Vice News France bureau, in an opinion piece.
The health crisis has at least made it acceptable for people to say no to the greeting, he argues, which has traditionally been used amongst strangers, colleagues and loved ones.
"It's a wake-up call," Douard says. “In France you have all this social pressure to do the old historical stuff... but now when you say no, people are generally understanding. It’s your choice.”
This isn’t the first time the French have questioned la bise, which has its roots in greetings that date back to the Roman Empire.
When The Black Death - the worst pandemic in human history - arrived during the Middle Ages, people began to pick up on the fact that human contact may play a role in spreading the illness, and la bise was faded out.
But once the plague receded, it began making a slow resurgence before once again being re-cemented into French culture during the French Revolution of 1789.
By this point, the greeting was seen as a representation of two of France’s most important valeurs - fraternité and égalité.
By the First World War, a kiss on the hand had become the customary greeting within high society, while a kiss on the cheek was used amongst the greater population.
“I honestly wouldn’t mind if this is the end of la bise,” said Patrick Abanda, a Parisian who works in media.
“And now with Covid-19, I can finally have an excuse not to use it at all!” his friend, Olivia Barthet, added.
Despite high hopes the tradition has come to an end, there are some trying to revive it.
In June, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, publicly embraced Second World War veterans with la bise during an awards ceremony - although he was wearing a mask.
However, la bise still has its supporters.
“It’s something beautiful,” said Davide Siche, a 29-year-old restaurant manager.
“I hope I can use it again... the day I can do la bise will be the day I can stop worrying about Covid!”