Valentine’s Day in France: origins and traditions

In France, many couples celebrate this day. Romantic dinners, small gifts, chocolates, etc. celebrating Valentine's Day in France is important for those who love each other.

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, lovers celebrate their love. It is traditional to give a gift to your partner on this special day.

In France, many couples celebrate this day. Romantic dinners, small gifts, chocolates, etc. celebrating Valentine’s Day in France is important for those who love each other.

The origins of Valentine’s Day

It is difficult to determine the origins of Valentine’s Day.

Some historians believe that it dates back to ancient times. At that time, the Lupercalia festival between 13 and 15 February honoured Lupercus, the god of fertility. On this occasion, rituals took place to make women fertile and to determine the partner for a year of young men from good families.

For other historians, this festival of lovers is actually a tribute to Valentinus. This priest is said to have continued to marry lovers in secret when the Roman emperor Claudius II had banned it to encourage his men to go to war.

Another explanation involves 14th century Britain. There, Lovers’ Day was a celebration of the time when birds build their nests, a symbol of the founding of the home and family. Valentine’s Day is a festival that became deeply rooted in the traditions of the island before it arrived in other neighbouring countries.

How long has Valentine’s Day existed in France?

Valentine’s Day arrived late in France. While it had already been celebrated in neighbouring countries for several years, it was not until the inter-war years that this lovers’ festival appeared in France.

Beyond the romanticism, Valentine’s Day is above all a commercial holiday. It is an opportunity for confectioners to sell off their stocks of Christmas chocolates!

Joyeuses Saint Valentin !

What gift should we give for Valentine’s Day?

As a true French lover, you can give your sweetheart traditional gifts such as a bouquet of red roses, heart-shaped chocolates, jewellery, lingerie or a candlelit dinner at home or in a restaurant.

Valentine’s Day is also the time to send cards with sweet words. February 14 is the perfect time to reaffirm your love and keep your relationship alive.

In France, it is not only the man who gives gifts to his sweetheart. The woman also gives gifts to her lover. It is not necessary to give expensive gifts to prove your love! A simple card, an accessory, some sweets or a movie can be a great gift idea for Valentine’s Day!

Where to spend Valentine’s Day in France?

In France, many couples go on a romantic weekend for Valentine’s Day.

Paris is considered the city of love. Lovers in Paris can take advantage of the capital to climb the Eiffel Tower, take a boat trip on the Seine, stroll along the Champs Elysées, admire paintings in the Louvre, dine in one of the city’s many restaurants, attend a concert or a show, or spend a romantic night in a beautiful hotel.

Outside Paris, it is possible to spend Valentine’s Day in a castle for an unusual night.

A thalasso or spa weekend or a nature getaway are ideas for places to spend Valentine’s Day in France.

Even if some people consider this holiday too commercial, Valentine’s Day in France is appreciated by couples who see it as an opportunity to celebrate their love.

Want to know more about other holidays celebrated in France? Find out how we celebrate the galette des rois during Epiphany!

Thank you for reading my article about Valentine’s Day in France!

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