Joyeuse Saint Valentin - Happy Valentines Day

     Just in case you didn't know it, Parisians -along with the rest of France- celebrate Valentines Day.  As a matter of fact, the origin of the holiday is debated and claimed by both England and France.  One undeniable fact is that the first recorded Valentine card survives today and was sent by the French Duke of Orleans, to his wife, while he was a prisoner of the British in 1415 after the battle of Agincourt.  
     It certainly doesn't help that the Catholic Church lists two different men with the name Valentinius. The legends, folklore and myths have intertwined until there is no clear history of the facts.  There are churches and chapels in several countries with relics of Saint Valentine.  In France, there is actually a town called Saint Valentin.  It's not, however, one of the towns which houses Saint Valentine's relics.  The town of Roquemaure in Centre, France houses relics in their reliquary.  It's important to remember that southern France was once home to the Popes.  The Papal palace is still a historic museum in Avignon Provence.  The influence of the vatican was great and the Catholic kings of France spent huge sums of money to obtain relics of martyrs and saints.   Saint Valentin was no exception and his mark is seen in France as in the rest of Europe.
     Although the village of Saint Valentin makes the most of it's name recognition each year on Valentine's Day, the town of Roquemaure also celebrates Saint Valentine's day in a big way.  They have a festival and take full advantage of their reliquary claims.  Throughout the rest of the France, just as in the USA, it's become a day for AMOUR.  The practice of celebrating love on Valentine's Day is certainly well practiced in France.  They've been at it since at least the 1400's,  so now you have an idea why the French have a reputation where romance is concerned. 
     You'll see signs, menu boards and store windows reminding Parisians to celebrate their loved ones on Valentine's Day.  The florists will sell tons of flowers, the wine shops will sell cases of champagne, the restaurants across Paris will have special Valentines drinks and desserts on their menus, and Paris will live up to it's reputation.    It's often said that Paris is for lovers.   It certainly is on Valentine's Day.
I hope you have a great one, and maybe one day soon you can be in Paris to celebrate it in style.
Mimi
 


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