French word of the week: L’amour (14/2/2023)

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Bonne Saint Valentin! Happy Valentine’s day from Paris! Yes, it is cold and the grévistes are still striking every few days or so, but like those groundhogs looking for their shadows, we can “sense” spring! And of course, in the words of that famous frenchman (skunk) Pepé Le Pew: Amour 🫶…

In Paris, you are not supposed to hang « love locks » on the bridges any more to celebrate St. Valentine’s, but you can send a personalized message to your beloved on one of the official automated street signs:

Sign above says “Maxime, the dishwasher, the washing machine, the dog and I all wish you Happy Saint Valentine”.

Even if you are not celebrating, reading all the random tokens of affection on the signs is probably the most interesting part of walking around Paris on Feb 14.

I will say though, Valentine’s isn’t as big a holiday (aka commercial opportunity) in France as it is in North America. The French prefer discretion as opposed to loud public exclamations of love. For instance anecdotally, I’ve never ever seen flowers delivered for Valentines at work here. They would usually be given privately.

But you will still find restaurant reservations difficult to obtain on the big day, if you’re going for that lovely romantic dinner in Paris. No last minute dawdling here.

So whether or not you are celebrating, listen to a few love songs tonight, write some poetry and practise your best French accent with these sweet nothings.

As the saying in French goes: “We can live with only love and fresh water”. What more do you need?

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A bientôt!


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