Paris is THE city of love with many tourists coming to Paris at this time of year to celebrate. Me on the other hand… David said “Happy Valentine’s Day” to me while I made breakfast and in my half asleep daze, I said, “oh yeah… right. Thanks.” So not exactly off to a great start.
Then I received a Valentine’s Day e-card from my parents. Then it hit me… ah, love is in the air today.
I didn’t think Valentine’s Day was even celebrated here as it’s mainly a North American cash grab “holiday”. It’s certainly not on any French calendars and my French kids didn’t know what I was talking about when I taught them this week. They didn’t understand why we made Valentine’s Day cards (but being 5 year olds, they like to colour so they were happy either way).
But of course, there are some shops, restaurants, and bakeries taking advantage of the commercial aspect of Valentine’s day… bakeries have scores of heart shaped, red desserts. Chocolatiers have full window displays of yummy heart shaped chocolates. Fromageries have more heart-shaped cheeses than usual (there is always at least one chevre that is heart-shaped). Even the caviar place was trying to bank in on the “holiday”. So here are some examples of Valentine’s Day in Paris.
One really cute thing a florist did (which is genius for publicity) is put hundred of single roses in boxes around the city mimicking the concept of emergency defibrillators. The box says “In case of love at first sight, break the glass.” I happened to find one but the rose was already taken… I suppose cupid was busy in Paris today.
I met my friend Amy (of cityofguldanlight.blogspot.com) to check out the Kiss Flash Mob happening at the Louvre to celebrate the launch of Wikilove.com.
I had no idea what to expect and with the rainy morning we had, I was tempted to just stay in and watch the Olympics all afternoon (like I’d been doing most afternoons). But I made it to the pyramid at the Louvre to find a band playing, and red heart-shaped balloons. We saw the massive net full of balloons that they would have released at 14:14 (2:14pm) if it wasn’t for the police that came and whisked away the guy holding them as the crowd booed. While the balloons stayed grounded, the kiss mob was underway as people kissed/hugged/sang at 2:14 ish, releasing the individual balloons. It was fun being part of a flash mob (although the ones that dance are way cooler) and it was somewhat anti-climatic especially when the organizers tried singing “All we need is love” and the crowd failed to respond.
But some people got into it, kissing their loved ones and friends, and even their dogs.
We then walked down Rue Saint Honoré passing scores of fancy shops and decorated window displays. We grabbed some seats at Jean Paul Hevin, a renowned chocolatier and order some famous hot chocolate. This place was on my list of well-known places and my third place on the hunt for a good cup of hot chocolate (previous visits were to Cafe de Flore and Angelina’s). It was good, no doubt, but not as rich and thick as my favourite, which is still, Cafe de Flore. It just didn’t coat your mouth and stick to your ribs. Amy agreed. It did have a nice balance of sweetness to chocolate-y-ness so there was no need to add sugar. They did have some unusual hot chocolate flavours including “chocolat chaud aux huitres”… yeah, that translates to oysters. I don’t think I’m brave enough to give that a try!
David and I never really celebrate Valentine’s Day. And I definitely don’t expect anything like flowers nor chocolate. It is quite commercial, overpriced and over done… but living in the city of love after all and with all the delicious looking desserts in every bakery, I just couldn’t resist. So really it was just another excuse tonight to have heart shaped chevre (with truffle saucisson) and then a heart shaped dessert, all the while watching Patrick Chan taking Silver in Men’s Figure Skating.
Not a bad day after all! So from the City of Love… Happy Valentine’s Day to all my North Americans