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How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated in France (plus 10 gift ideas)

How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated in France (plus 10 gift ideas)

valentine's day in france

In France, Valentine’s Day, known as “la Saint-Valentin” or “la fête des amoureux”, falls on the 14th of February —just like in the rest of the world—, and is all about love and lovers!

According to this study, one in two French people in a relationship says celebrate Valentine’s Day in one way or another. And this celebration is even more popular among young people: 60% of those under 35 admit to celebrating Valentine’s Day.

If some of them consider Valentine’s Day as a commercial affair —even if I don’t think the French Valentine’s Day is as big as it is in the United States—, it’s a great way for couples and lovers to express their love for each other and to do something that changes from daily routine.

10 Gifts to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, show yourself a little love and treat yourself to one of these fabulous French-inspired gifts below. You can browse and shop these gift ideas on my LTK profile here.

From top left to bottom right:

How to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in French

You can simply say “Joyeuse Saint-Valentin”. However, you only say that to your significant other. Indeed, Valentine’s Day in France is just for people in love and only couples celebrate la Saint-Valentin. Children do not give gifts or cards to their parents, friends, or teachers and parents do not give cards or gifts to their kids. 

Some French love vocabulary to inspire you:

  • Joyeuse Saint Valentin – Happy Valentine’s day
  • L’amour – love
  • Je t’aime – I love you
  • Veux-tu m’épouser? – Will you marry me?
  • Tomber Amoureux / amoureuse – to fall in love
  • Embrasser, s’embrasser – to kiss
  • Un bisou – a kiss
  • Se fiancer – to get engaged
  • Le mariage – marriage
  • Un amoureux / une amoureuse – a sweetheart
  • Un petit-ami – a boyfriend
  • Une petite-amie – a girlfriend
  • Mon chéri, ma chérie, mon amour, mon coeur – my love

French Valentine’s Day Traditions

Card-giving for any occasion is rare in France and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The French do not send cards for Valentine’s Day but instead, they prefer to celebrate it in person by setting romantic evenings for their significant other.

According to this research, among the French who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 60% plan to go to a restaurant, 21% plan to cook at home, and 14% to go for a drink. In France, restaurants usually create a special menu or some form of a romantic special offer on the 14th.

To have a romantic dinner in one of the best restaurants in France on Valentine’s Day, a reservation is generally required (and well in advance). Also, Parisians have even more options for celebrating this holiday: some Paris restaurants, bars, parks, and cabarets host special events to mark the occasion.

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Valentine’s Day Gifts in France

Couples and lovers express their love for each other by giving small presents, booking a romantic meal, or even a weekend away. According to this study, when the French are asked about the gifts they plan to give to their partner on Valentine’s Day, flowers (22%), perfume (16%), and jewelry (13%) are the top 3. 

In France, flowers are a very popular gift for Valentine’s Day! French florists turnover what they would usually make in a week on that day. Roses (red, rose, or white) represent 80% of the flowers offered on Valentine’s Day but other flowers like lilies, peonies, or tulips, symbols of love, passion, or loyalty are offered on this day too.

Here are the most popular gifts French people give for Valentine’s Day:

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View Comments (3)
  • I love your newsletter! I spent 2 weeks in Central France about 15 years ago on a work assignment, but only 2 days in Paris Your newsletter takes me back. Im in my later 60″s and would love it if you could do a story with fashion and lifestyle for us older gals. Thank you!

  • Some lovely gift ideas. I need a Frenchman now and I would like him to take me for a nice meal (the lack of a card will not matter), but he needs to bring me some red roses and lovely gold earrings. I will carry on dreaming……..:)

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