‘L’Amour, toujours’ – Valentine’s Day in France

Quel est ton Valentin/Valentine ? Who is your Valentine? (m/f.)

Fêter la saint Valentin (to celebrate St Valentine’s Day) often means offering des petits cadeaux (small gifts) in the form of flowers, a romantic diner, wine and chocolates. France has some of the most famous chocolatiers (chocolate makers) in the world. Here is a comprehensive French website on the subject. 

Despite distant pagan origins and its assimilation by the Roman Catholic church with the saint patron (patron saint), le jour de la Saint Valentin or simply, la Saint Valentin is more associated with the mutual exchange of billets doux (love letters).

Here are some French words and phrases related to Valentine’s Day if you’re planning on writing love letters yourself:

  • échanger des mots tendres, des mots d’amour (to share sweet words, love words)
  • lui faire une déclararation d’amour (to declare one’s love to him/her)


Here are some famous quotes from French literature and arts:

Jamais il ne se passe une heure sans penser à toi ; je t’aime.” (lit. There is never an hour that passes without thinking of you ; I love you.) – Napoleon Bonaparte love letter to Joséphine in 1796)

Mon cœur ne bat que pour toi.(My heart beats only for you.)  – J.M. Guyon

T’as de beaux yeux tu sais.” (You’ve got beautiful eyes you know) – from the 1938 movie Quai des Brumes (Port of Shadows, lit. Pier of Mists).


Listen to this song by Georges Brassens, Les amoureux des bancs publics (Lovers  of public benches). Note the use of se bécoter (to kiss each other), a somewhat old-fashioned verb for lovers. (lyrics and translation here)