Valentine’s Day (“La Saint Valentin”, in French), on February 14th, is, like we all know, a celebration of love for couples from all around the World... but especially in Paris, the city of love! 😉
- Who is “St. Valentine”?
Many tales, whether true or not, have told the origins of Valentine’s Day for years. Here is the one that sounds the most likely.
The story begins during the third century. The Roman Empire had been at war for years. Its power is declining, especially its army. More and more young men were deserting. At the very least, young men were not as likely as previously, to sign up for the army. According to Emperor Claude II, potential soldiers were more interested in women and in having families than in fighting for the Empire… In an effort to solve the problem, “Cruel Claude”, as he is then nicknamed, decided purely and simply to forbid weddings throughout the Empire.
However, a priest called Valentine decided to defy the law. In secret, he continued to perform weddings. Valentine even encouraged young lovers to meet him, so they can be blessed with the marriage Sacrament. But Claude II eventually heard about these activities… and immediately decided to put Valentine in jail.
There, the priest befriended the blind daughter of his prison guard. Valentine was eventually sentenced to death. According to the legend, right before his execution on February, 14th 270, he gave sight back to the blind girl. He also gave her a heart-shaped letter, which he signed: “From your Valentine”.
When the Roman Empire collapsed at the end of the 5th century Valentine was declared a Saint by Pope Gelase I for his sacrifice in the defence of love.
- "Mon petit coeur ": French Idioms
The heart is a powerful image when used in idioms.
To do something à contre-cœur. – (‘Against the heart’) is to do it unwillingly.
Avoir un cœur d’artichaut.– (‘To have the heart of an artichoke’) is a clever play on words, which means to be flighty or unreliable.
Ne pas avoir le cœur à – (‘To not have the heart to’) has largely the same meaning as in English.
Avoir le cœur sur les levres – (‘To have one’s heart on one’s lips’) has exactly the same meaning as ‘to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve’.
- Do French people believe in love?
The answer is in this video (sorry no English subtitles here 😛):
- Les plus belles chansons d'amour
According to the French survey (see video above), L'hymne à l'amour" (1950) by Edith Piaf, "Ne me quitte pas" (1959) by Jacques Brel and "Quand on n'a que l'amour" also by Jacques Brel have been elected best French love songs by French people.
Listen to these wonderful French love songs and let me know what you think.
Bonne Saint Valentin à tous! ❤
Here is a compilation of some beautiful French love songs :