bonjour!

How to say “hello” in Reunion

There are many ways to say hello in Reunion. In fact, visiting Reunion Island is a lesson in cultural values. These people are affectionate and use all their senses to show their emotions and to say hello.

The island is still a French region which makes French its official language. Many people also speak Creole and derivatives of Chinese.
When people say hello in Reunion, they kiss each other on each cheek, just as they do in France. They use their arms and hands a lot when they talk to each other and vary the distance between each other depending on how well they know each other.

If you meet a Reunionese woman for the first time you can kiss her on each cheek but if it is a man, you shake hands. Two girls tend to kiss and hug each other hello but two boys tend to fist bump each other if teenagers.

Some easy phrases

Hello – Bonjour (French)

Do you speak English? – “Parlez-vous Anglais?” (French)

Some Creole:

Oukilé plaz? – Where is the beach?

Pa tousé mi la! – Don’t touch me there!
Mi aime a ou – I love you

When you visit Reunion, take these unspoken rules of etiquette into consideration:

Cover yourself well and dress formerly when you enter temples and mosques and remember to take your shoes off. Slow down in Reunion, no one is in a hurry like we Westerners always are. Say bonjour whenever you start a conversation and speak slowly. If you want to photograph people, always ask their permission first.