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Valentine’s Day in Paris… Love in the City of Love!


image: assaffrank.com

Social media is overflowing with Parisian romance - you know, the steamy, dreamy images of the couple just waking up, in bedsheets, and looking out at the Eiffel Tower over a perfectly laid out (usually American sized) breakfast. But what is Valentine's Day in Paris really like? Let's take a P'Niche peek and find out...


image: carnivalarts.org.uk

Bien sûr - let's start at the beginning...


What modern times sees as a day filled with chocolates and roses, started as a Christian holiday, honoring the martyrdom of Saint Valentine.


And... wait for it... There was more than one "Valentine!"


Yep! The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus (martyrs, all three).


Who says you should only have one Valentine? P'Niche is offering you three for the price of one!


image: HuffPost.com

Our first Valentine comes during the time of Emperor Claudius II, who decided that single men made for better soldiers than those with wives and families to care for. Thus, the emperor outlawed marriage for young men.


Roman Valentine, of course, realized how unjust this outlawing was, and continued to perform (secret) marriages for couples and lovebirds, hoping to sanctify their union.


What could go wrong?!


Well, Emperor Claudius II found out about the marriages, and he set the order that Valentine of Rome be put to death.


Wait for it...



image: catholic.org

Others believe it was another Valentine, Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop - who also continued to perform marriages.


Many insist that it was the actions of Saint Valentine of Terni (also put to death under Claudius II) who is the actual namesake of the holiday...



image: history.com

Valentine #3 - you're off the bench!


Many believe the holiday is named for one Valentine, who was helping Christians escape Roman prisons and religious persecution.


Legend states that this Valentine fell in love with the jailor's daughter (who visited him during his imprisonment). He would send her love letters signed "From, Your Valentine." That customary greeting remains to this day...


Oh, l'amour!


image: atlasobscura.com

As it stands, Saint Valentine was officially recognized as the patron saint for engaged couples and happy marriages by Pope Galasius I in the year 496.


Hey, remember Pope Gelasius I from our post about crêpes and Candlemas?


If you are so inclined, a relic (the skull) of Saint Valentine resides in a glass reliquary in Rome's Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, surrounded by flowers.


Nope, it's not in the Catacombs!



These days (well, since the 8th century Gelatin Sacramentary), we celebrate Saint Valentine's Day annually on February 14th.


I can almost hear you thinking... well, P'Niche what is so French about Valentine's Day then?


So glad you asked!



image: history.com

While "Valentine's Greetings" grew in popularity since the 1400's, the oldest known Valentine still in existence was a poem, penned by one Charles, Duke D'Orléans. It was sent, in 1415, to his wife, while he was imprisoned, following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.


This special note d'amour now lives in the manuscripts in the British Library in London, England. Le sigh...



What are the differences between American and French Valentine's Day Celebrations? Let's check it out...


In the States, Valentine's Day is a $20 billion dollar commercial affair. We send over 190 million Valentine's Day cards (and this doesn't even include school children's cards!)


Cards, chocolates, candies, flowers, lingerie, dinners out, etc. are top priority for the average American celebrating their love.


image: objectifgard.com

France celebrates similarly (although to a lesser commercial extent).


One fun celebration in the southern part of France, called "Fête des Amoreux" or, Feast of the Lovers, occurs bi-annually in Roquemaure, with parading and dancing in costumes from the 19th century.

Such fun!


Lucky enough to be celebrating your Valentine's Day in Paris? Certainly, you have seen scores of blogs, vlogs, opinions, photos, etc. on what to do and where to go.


Some of my personal favorites are...


Dinner with an Eiffel Tower view...

1, pl. du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75106

Métro: Trocadero



A Couple's Massage

Terrass" Hotel & Spa

12-14, rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018

Métro: Blanche


A Naughty Night at Moulin Rouge

82, blvd de Clichy, 75018

Métro: Blanche



Chocolate Tasting Tour


Couples' Private Photo Shoot


A Day Trip to Champagne




Single in the City of Love? Moi Aussi!


My perfect Solo in Paris Valentine's Day is:


Cocoa and Brekkie at Angelina


Stroll through le Musée de l'Orangerie


Private (Chic Parisienne) Photo Shoot


See some other gals (Notable Queens). View statuary in the Luxembourg Gardens with this 2 part podcast from Paris with a Hemingway and the research of Claudine.


"Galentine's Day" Cocktails at Bisous Bar


Walk home via the Seine counting my lucky stars - and the bridges of Paris!


You'll notice that P'Niche listed photo shoots twice. This will be explored in the coming months, so we hope you will subscribe to Parisian Niche to join us back here for the fun...


What about you, P'Nicher - how are you celebrating Valentine's Day this year? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!

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Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
Feb 10, 2023

Thanks for the fabulous history of the 3, 3! St. Valentins!

Although I am not single, I am hosting a Valentine party for my single girlfriends, with plenty of wine and chocolate!

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chrissy
Feb 10, 2023
Replying to

thank you so much, it was such fun to research and I love a great Galentine's Day, top fun - I hope you enjoy! 😍

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