Dos and Don’ts on La Saint-Valentin in France

Coucou !

Even though France is supposed to be the most romantic country in the world, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day as much as you may think. It may be a special evening with your loved one but not a full day. And the gift is not necessarily something expensive. A personal surprise is way better.

Today, we’ll look at what you can actually do and say in French to your loved one. 🙂




2 other Comme une Française videos on La Saint-Valentin for you:
5 ready-to-use Valentine’s day messages in French
13 phrases to use with your partner in French

Et toi?
Have you ever spent a Valentine’s Day in France?
What differences from your country did you see?
Are you dating a French person? What did they tell you about Valentine’s day?

Bonne Saint-Valentin et à tout de suite dans les commentaires,

Géraldine
PS: Here’s a free training on French pronunciation and vocabulary in case you missed it. ????

Join the conversation!

  • Merci Geraldine.. I have to say, when I visited France, I felt as if EVERY day was Valentines Day! The flowers, the music, the wine…..it was all so romantic !! I always enjoy your very informative and fun videos! Please keep them coming!

  • Thanks for this video Geraldine. I really enjoy learning about the cultural differences. I am married to a Frenchman but we won’t celebrate Valentine’s Day anymore than to say Je t’aime as it is our wedding anniversary next week so we celebrate that instead.
    I am curious about one thing – do the French do anything as a ‘secret admirer’? In New Zealand where I’m from this would normally just be a card but could also be a small gift. Since the French don’t do cards I wonder if they have this tradition. I asked my husband but he doesn’t know (or has never done it). Obviously I don’t need this information for myself but it is always good to learn something new 🙂

  • Salut, Géraldine,

    I love your videos! When I lived in Paris, I organized a Valentine’s Day lunch in starred Michelin restaurant for my girlfriends, French and American. Dinner with mon amour was in the evening. We, the Americans, explained to them that Valentine’s Day for us is for everyone, old and young. parents, grandparents, siblings, and girlfriends as well as spouses. We asked each person to bring a gift under €20, and explained the secret Santa/Valentine idea. They absolutely loved it, as everyone was included, and everyone had a great time. After the first two years people started calling me asking if they could bring their sister, mother, grandmother, best friend, and it grew into a really wonderful beautiful Franco-American sharing. It still continues to this day. One time we went to l’Ambroisie, another to Arpège, another time to le Jules Verne. No one thought it weird; every French invitée felt privileged to share in the camaraderie and fun.

  • Cette vidéo été très intéressant. Je ne jamais savais que la tradition du jour de la St. Valentin avaient des différences en France.

  • Bonjour mon ami Geraldine

    Le vidéo très util ! Dans mon religion (Islam, Muslim) nous ne célébrons pas la saint valentin ! Mais tout ce que je peux dire à ma famille est Je
    t’ aime 🙂

    P.S. I hope you don’t mind but can you go a little bit slowly with the the french pronunciation in the videos ?

    Merci pour ton effort,

    Fatma

  • I imagine that in France it would not be the done thing to send flowers/gifts to someone at their workplace, as can be the embarrassing experience for some?

  • Salut, Geraldine: Many thanks for the manner in which you explain the cultural differences that can be quite awkward when we (Americans in my case) assume that we are “all alike.” One of your best was explaining about hugs: My new friend seemed a bit startled and I was a bit embarassed. Fortunately, we laughed about it later as our friendship developed. I look forward to each episode for insight into how to become a welcome guest in your country.

  • ALORS CA SERA MON PREMIER JOUR DE ST.VALENTIN EN FRANCE DONC APRES CE JOUR LA JE T’ECRIRAI MON EXPERIENCE 😉 😀

    MAIS DU COUP JE VOULAIS TE RACONTER MON EXPERIENCE SUR OFFRIR DES CADEAUX EN FRANCE 😉 ALORS, IL Y A UN AN, J’AI OFFERT DES PETITS CADEAUX A MES COLLEGUES AU LIEU DE TRAVAIL EN RAISON D’UN JOUR DES FEMME (8 MARS, EN POLOGNE C’EST UN JOUR DES FEMMES). JE LEUR AI DONNE UN CHUPA-CHUPS A CHAQU’UNE COLLEGUE 🙂 ELLES ETAIENT PLUS QUE CONTENTES, PLEINS DES SOURIRES ET ELLES M’ADORAIENT. MERCI DE ME PREVENIR DE N’OFFRIR RIEN POUR ST.VALENTIN SAUF MA COPINE 😉

    MERCI GERALDINE, T’ES MAGNIFIQUE, T’ES NOTRE PETITE FEE MAGICIENNE! xD
    MERCI POUR TOUS! J’ATTENDS LE SUIVANT VIDEO! 😀

  • I know many people who spend a lot of money at valentine’s day. In my family, we merely give a card (to all loved ones in family: parents, kids, grandparents) some candy for the kids, and maybe a special dinner at home or dinner out for the parents. For young school kids, it is almost obligatory to give a valentine (with a candy attached) to each member of the class.
    We have a friend who lives in Switzerland, and when we found out she used to play the accordion, we sent her a valentine that said “Hugs and squeezes”. She was shocked and embarrassed! (Les americains, ils sont fous!)

  • Thank you for this episode! Just a little funny story: One year, I sent a Valentine’s Day gift package to the daughters of a French friend living in Suisse, and the girls were very confused. My friend explained the American tradition of expressing all kinds of love on this day, not just the love between partners, and now the girls look forward to my package every year!

  • The link above is most appropriate as it is an informatique on the most common names shared among lovers via SMS. 😉

  • Merci beaucoup! France and England, (well the traditional England), seem to celebrate St Valentine’s in the same way except in England cards play a BIG part. We love to send cards and so here in France I have to make all my own !!!! I received a St Valentines card for us all from my Aunt and Uncle in America, the American tradition includes family and friends. Actually I love that idea because no one is excluded. I spent many years hating St.Valentines day in the UK because I was a wallflower! We are planning a nice meal but we are including our son this year. He was going to make cards for a couple of our French neighbours, but now we won’t. Thanks for stopping us making a faux pas!

  • Ce n’était pas une journée spéciale pour moi en France, et la même chose maintenant chez moi! (In New Zealand.) Cependant, si quelqu’un voulait me envoyer des fleurs ….. 🙂 But really, it has been turned into a huge event in recent years through advertising!

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