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St. Valentine’s: the best French love phrases

St. Valentine’s Day in France: la fête des amoureux

La Saint Valentin is French for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a highly celebrated occasion in France, and many from across the world go there to have the most romantic experiences with their loved one. Paris is a particular hotspot for lovers; after all it is not called the city of love for nothing.

This article will be taking you on a guided tour of the most romantic experiences you can have in Paris and in the Champagne region on St. Valentine’s Day or whenever you can visit them. Firstly, let’s discover the origins of St Valentine’s Day.

 

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

There are many theories surrounding the origins of Valentine’s Day. However, the theory that is argued to be the most accurate, is that Valentine’ day originated from the time of the Roman Empire, when a priest called Valentine was executed in Rome for conducting marriages in secret, which at the time had been forbidden by Emperor Claudius II.

It is believed before he died, Valentine wrote a note to his jailer’s daughter who he had befriended while in prison, signed “from your Valentine” It is uncertain whether he fell in love with her or not. This theory explains not only why Valentine’s Day is named this but also why cards are exchanged on this occasion, increasing its accuracy.

How the French used to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day

Traditionally French people celebrated la fête des amoureux with “une loterie d’amour” (a lottery of love). This ritual consisted in singletons standing outside their houses and call out other singleton until they finally coupled up. If the man wasn’t attracted to his new partner he would walk away from her.

All single women who had been abandoned by their men would then get together to make a fire and burn their pictures. This rather therapeutic ceremony for the women soon got out of control and was forbidden by the French government. Soon after this ban the French started celebrating St. Valentine’s Day by sending greeting notes or letters to their loved ones.

The Duke of Orleans was allegedly the first person to send love letters and poems to his wife in France, while he was kept prisoner in the Tower of London.

Contemporary Valentine’s Day customs

San Valentine village

Today French people celebrate by giving gifts with the most popular gift being flowers; red roses in particular. French florists make what they would usually make in a week in one day at St. Valentines.

Interestingly there is a village located in the Loire region called St Valentin in Indre, which has been promoting itself as “The Village of Love” since the 80s. Locals decorate their homes with blooms and one can also find the garden of love with several hearts installations. If this wasn’t enough, there is also an annual festival happening around St. Valentine’s Day.

Lovers flock to this little village to get married or renew their vows. As a matter of fact, lovers can marry in the garden gazebo, stick their love wishes to the tree of vows, plant a tree as a tribute of their marriage or anniversary and can even commemorate their love on the “Tree of Eternal Hearts”

 

Cultural tip

St. Valentine’s Day celebrations are only aimed at lovers not friends or family, so the French will only send cards or gifts to the person they are in love with.

The best French phrases to express love and propose

  • Je t’aime (I love you) – “I love you”Je Vous Aime for family and friends
  • Veux-tu m’épouser (do you want to marry me?)
  • Veux- tu me faire l’honneur de devenir ma femme (Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife ?)
  • Veux-tu me rendre l’homme le plus heureux du monde? (Will you make me the happiest man on earth ?)
  • Tu es celle/celui qui j’attendu(e) toute la vie (You are the one I have been waiting for my whole life).
  • Je veux être avec toi pour toujours ( I want to be with you forever).
  • T’avoir à mes côtés est ce qui me complète (Having you by my side is what completes me)
  • Je ne peux pas imaginer ma vie sans toi (I cannot imagine my life without you).
  • Nous sommes faits pour être ensemble (We are made to be together)
  • T’es I’amour de ma vie “You’re the love of my life” (expressed to intimate partners)

Now listen our playlist for the correct pronunciation – Credit goes to the amazing Margot Lunn

Celebrating love in Paris

Paris, the city of love where certainly there is no shortage of romantic experiences to be enjoyed. Let’s start with the most obvious and classic experience one can choose: a romantic night time dinner cruise down la Seine (the River Seine) make sure you order oysters and champagne for an aphrodisiac experience.

If you don’t fancy a whole dinner opt for a champagne cruise combining a romantic night sightseeing with a guided sumptuous champagne tasting of three types of champagnes presented by an expert sommelier.
Another classic is dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge the top rated cabaret in all Europe. During the day time you can opt for a full day excursion which will take you to visit the Eiffel Tower where you will be able to have a romantic lunch. In the afternoon, the tour will take you to explore the charming Palace of Versailles with its magnificent rooms and gardens; a day packed of romance!

Moulin-Rouge-Paris

Are you and your partner foodies with a massive sweet tooth? So, we can suggest the best experience ever for you: a pastry and chocolate walking tour around Paris’ cobblestone streets! Visit the top Parisian chocolatiers where you will nibble on chocolates and be entertained by your expert chocolate guide.
If you are both lovers of the arts you cannot miss a visit to the Louvre ad the Musée Rodin where you can also wander through the gardens of Rodin’s studio.

For the music enthusiasts, there are several options to take in a fabulous concert at the Palais Garnier or even at the Opera Bastille. Of course, this is not everything the city of love has to offer, but we are certain these experiences will create unforgettable memories.

The Palais Garnier

Must try foods in Paris

Croissants are an excellent way to start your day along with a nice coffee. A must try is the croissant au beurre a bit more expensive than the common croissants, but is worth is as it is made with extra delicious French butter.
If you are not fan of butter you can opt for the classic baguette; a piece of French culture! Baguettes are long loafs of bread which has been made in France for centuries. However, the word itself is said to have been coined in 1920, 111 years later and it is still going strong.

You can buy both baguettes and croissants from the boulangerie when they’re still warm!

For lunch or dinner

Try a juicy French entrecôte (ribeye steak) with French fries or the steak tartare if you are feeling brave. Steak tartare is a meat dish made from raw minced beef or horse meat. Usually it is served with onions, capers, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasoning on the side. It is often served with a raw egg yolk on top of the meat.

On St Valentine’s Day have some French oysters they are said to be an aphrodisiac and are packed with vitamins E, C and B12, iron and zinc which help to maintain a healthy heart.
Other traditional French foods include Bœuf bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine) Coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine, lardons and mushrooms) and if you really are feeling adventurous, try the Escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in their shells with parsley butter).

Don’t want to sit in a restaurant twice a day? Opt for a French café where you will find the most traditional French sandwich called croque-monsieur; filled with cheese and ham this sandwich is grilled and moistened by a touch of béchamel. If you are feeling super hungry, get the croque-madame with an added fried egg on top.

In case you are keen to eat on the go, you have a wide choice of savoury and sweet crêpes offered by stands scattered all around the city. Make sure you choose a stand where crêpes are made to order and which is kept spotlessly clean. The classic crêpe which is a must try is the beurre-sucre (butter and sugar) one.

Dessert

As a dessert you can’t miss the café gourmand, which literally translates in gourmet coffee. A truly French experience, café gourmand consists of a cup of coffee and small fancy desserts such as mini crème brûlée, mini chocolate cake with créme anglaise and a pistachio macaron for example. So make sure you finish your meal with this amazing dessert that varies from region to region.

cafe gourmand

 

Cultural tip

People in France go out for a meal to socialise and like to take their time to eat and have a conversation. The French usually finish their meal with a dessert.

Romantic Restaurants in Paris

Le cinq

The city of love is of course packed with romantic restaurants, from the famous and costly “Le cinq” and “Epicure” restaurants to less costly restaurants such as “Le chant des oliviers” and “La petite tour”. On the other hand, please keep in mind that dining out in Paris is never cheap. Here you can find the French trip advisor ranking. Even if you don’t speak French you can look at the stars and numbers of reviews. Bonne chance (Good luck). https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurants-g187147-zfp3-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

Celebrating love in the Champagne-Ardenne region

Are you looking for a more peaceful break? Then make sure to head to the Champagne-Ardennes; a region located in north-eastern France, not far from Belgium and Luxembourg, but still close to Paris and easily reached by car or public transportation. Interestingly, Champagne-Ardennes is the birthplace to the legendary champagne wine, but it is also packed with historical sites originating from the Middle Ages.

Enough about history, let’s dive in and discover the most romantic experiences you can enjoy on your dreamy vacation in this stunning region. There is no better way to start than visiting the hometown of the most celebrated sparkling wine in the world; Reims.

Champagne-Ardennes

This fascinating city boasts the illustrious Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims, once used by the French royalty for performing rituals such as coronations during the middle ages. Here you can take part in guided Champagne tasting tours and visit “les grandes marques” (Champagne-producing houses).

Not only you will drink your way through the spectacular vineyards, but you will also discover underground caves and tunnels where the delightful champagne ages.

For something extremely special, treat your sweet heart to a traditional cooking lesson where you will learn French at the same time! This experience is a full immersion into French culture. Maybe you would like to learn how to make croissants or biscuits de Reims to enjoy along with a glass of bubbly, strictly champagne of course.

Or a heartier dish you can enjoy at lunch of dinner. Can’t wait to try this incredible experience? Contact us so we can design your memorable experience.

If you are mountain lovers and fans of outdoor activities there is no better place for you. The Ardennes and Reims Mountain Regional Nature Parks, Lake Der-Chantecoq and the four lakes of Pays de Langres, or the Trans-Ardennes Greenway are perfect for romantic walks and water sports to relish.

Must try foods in the Champagne- Ardennes region

The Champagne- Ardenne region offers amazing dishes which fit perfectly with its large range of Champagne wines. Its traditional cuisine is known as “Cuisine du terroir as is based on products of the soil.
The Brie cheese is indeed one of the pillars of the Champagne and French gastronomies. Especially the Brie de Meaux cheese is internationally considered as being the best variety of cow’s milk cheese.

brie

In winter you can keep warm with a typical hearty stew called The Champagne Joute. This delicious stew is a delightful Northern version of the well-known Potée Champenoise. “La Joute” is usually made of cabbage, sausages and smoked ham from the Ardenne region.

Joute

Another gem of the Champagne cuisine is the traditional Troyes andouillette, a traditional dish made out of quality pork cuts such as stomachs and large intestines. According to the Champagne legends the original recipe dates back to the Middle Ages. This is definitively a distinctive traditional dish.

Andouillette

Whether you have a sweet tooth or not you must try The Biscuits de Reims; these pleasant biscuits made of simple ingredients such as eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla flavour, were originally used to accompany the local Champagne wines, but they soon became popular all over France. Despite their popularity, the original recipe of the “Biscuit Rose” is to this date still kept secretly by Fossier’s Confectioners who created it in the late 18th century.

Biscuits de Reims

 

Romantic Restaurants in the Champagne- Ardenne region

Depending on where you stay there are several romantic restaurants. After all this is the region which has given its name to the infamous French sparkling wine Champagne.

Please note, whilst the term Champagne is used for generic sparkling wine in some countries such as the UK, in the EU and other countries it strictly refers to the French sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region. Champagne doesn’t come cheap, but is comparable to the nectar of the Gods. Check out the most romantic restaurants rated by the French here https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurants-g187133-oa750-zfp3-Champagne_Ardenne_Grand_Est.html

Romantic French Music

Feeling extra romantic? Here are classic romantic French songs with French lyrics to enjoy with your loved one.

Ne me quitte pas

La vie en rose

Non, je ne regrette rien

What to buy for your special Valentine

From classic red roses and chocolates to luxury boxes of macaroons, champagne, French perfumes and spicy lingerie check my idea list for the finest gifts for your Valentine.

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macarons

4 Tips to look your best this Valentine’s:

  1.  Create a cabbage face mask. Cabbages have been used by the French for centuries to cleanse and replenish the skin. Science has now found that cabbage is a natural anti-ageing food as it is packed with essential vitamins, such as vitamins A, C and E. It can improve the complexion of the skin and can reduce dry skin. A face mask can be made at home by simply grinding some cabbage in a blender or steaming it until soft and mixing it with eggs, milk or honey, creating a paste like mask.
  2. Make a berry face mask. Berries are great for anti-ageing, can heal the skin and are great for reducing acne. To make the mask, crush berries and mix with plain yoghurt or honey to form a face mask.
  3. Indulge in oils. The French love using essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and rosehip oil. Essential oils have relaxing and calming effects on the body and even the mind, due to their relaxing properties. These oils also smell great so are perfect for being around your special someone on Valentine’s Day.
  4. Have a therapeutic bath time. French women have been using natural cleansers and exfoliators for cleaning and relaxing the body for hundreds of years. For instance, salts and oils are often used in combination for getting rid of dead skin cells and rejuvenating the skin, leaving the skin feeling super soft. Alternatively, coffee grinds are also commonly used in combination with oils to form a natural body scrub.

We hope you enjoyed this piece of French culture, please let us know what topic you would be interested in exploring by leaving a comment.

Merci!

Raffaella Palumbo

Passionate about languages & good food. I hold a Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions and the CLTA teaching certificate. My hobby is chasing the sun around the globe. My favourite quote: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” (Frank Smith)

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