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Valentine’s Day in France: How the French Celebrate La Saint-Valentin

A Holiday for Les Amoureux
Heart-shaped lock on bridge with Eiffel Tower in background
Last updated January 22, 2024
While you may think that Valentine’s Day couldn’t be that different from one country to another, you might be surprised by how subdued the celebration is in France, especially if you’re American.

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Unlike in some countries where everyone gets in on this lovey-dovey holiday from the earliest age, in France, Valentine’s Day is reserved for adults in love. Kids don’t exchange cards and the French wouldn’t dream of offering anything to their friends for this fête.

Although much less of a commercial holiday than in say, the United States, you’ll still see plenty of pink and red shop windows around Paris, gently reminding passersby that La Saint-Valentin is fast approaching.

The pretty displays don’t start popping up until the beginning of February, not right after Christmas. The French know how to space out their holidays.

Valentine's Day display at Ladurée macaron shop

Like in other countries and cultures, French couples gift one another with chocolates, flowers, jewelry, or romantic evenings. In addition to picking up a present at a chocolatier or a fleuriste, Parisians have even more options for celebrating this sweet holiday.

Some Paris museums, monuments, and parks host special events and many restaurants offer a Valentine’s Day menu. For those that are looking to enjoy a sexy soirée, Paris has plenty of cabarets that put on special shows to mark the occasion.

 

 

If you’re in town this Valentine’s Day and aren’t sure what to do, click here for 5 Ideas of Romantic Things to Do in Paris or browse our selection of the most romantic places in Paris.


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Looking for the perfect Paris-inspired Valentine’s Day gift for your favorite francophile? They’re sure to love this hand-painted I Heart Paris handbag by local designer Kasia Dietz.

Shop it and more Parisian presents in the Urbansider Boutique.

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