A Valentine from Paris

Trip Start Sep 15, 2005
Trip End Mar 05, 2014

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saint Valentin, as today is known in France is not really much of a huge holiday here. Incursions by Hallmark notwithstanding, other than candies, sweets, and flowers, there's not much about town to remind one that it's a holiday.  I did see strawberries at the grocery store yesterday, encased in a plastic box in the shape of a heart rather than it's normal square-shaped container, but other than that, not even the roses on sale next to the checkout counters had mention of Valentine's Day. Most of the chocolates and treats at Monoprix were Easter treats.

But the few stores that do recognize that this is their day do it with such panache.  Chocolatiers, tea shops, the wine shop, and some of the florists (but not all) on Rue de Bretagne have acknowledged the holiday, as has the Popolini store (a new little shop that sells only puff pastries stuffed with intensely flavored cremes),  and their windows displays are lovely.

Cafes Richard, a high-end tea shop, has a subtle window with no mention of the holiday in words, but their window offers pink tea boxes, cupid-like sugars and assorted romantic tea accessories. On their side window, they hung some antique valentines from ribbons. Totally charming.

Surprisingly, the bakery that usually has the most ornate confections is only offering heart-shaped cookies with berries and sabayon to recognize the holiday, the rest of their window is filled with the same baked goods as any other day.

About 15 years ago when we were here with our four children during Valentine's Day, we saw a barge topped  with heart-shaped balloons travel on the Seine with a band, but today I saw no such thing. ( I might have missed it if there was such an event.) 

The most beautiful offerings I have found are in the display windows at Dalloyau near the Bastille, a high-end pastry confectioner and traiteur with several other outlooks in the city. Peruse them and you'll be rewarded with the most exqusite and tasty of valentines. Just a few sweet touches from Paree for you (to view) from me:

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