by Clare Jones

14 – quatorze

Le 14 février c’est la fête des amoureux – la Saint-Valentin.

The 14th February is the feast day of lovers – Saint Valentine’s Day.

Notice that even though Saint Valentin was a man and therefore un saint rather than une sainte, the festival is feminine in French – la Saint-Valentin. This is because it is short for “la fête de saint Valentin”. Similarly, la Saint-Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve) is also feminine. We also talk of la Noël because it is la fête de Noël even though Noël is masculine – we say “Joyeux Noël!” (masculine).


un dîner aux chandelles – a candlelit dinner

un dîner aux chandelles

Picture copyright Tamsin Edwards

literally: a dinner with candles

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Pour fêter la Saint-Valentin, plutôt que d’inviter l’élue de votre cœur au restaurant, pourquoi ne pas préparer un dîner aux chandelles romantique ?

To celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, instead of inviting your beloved to a restaurant, why not prepare a romantic candlelit dinner?


Don’t forget that to say “I love you” in French, you just say “Je t’aime”. Don’t go adding beaucoup or bien because that detracts from the strength of the sentiment. You could also say “Je t’adore” – I adore you (adorer is used more than to adore in English). If you do choose this expression, make sure you pronounce the A clearly. In English adore is pronounced more like “uh-dore” but not so in French. However, in some French families, the overuse of adorer is frowned upon. I remember once when I was visiting my French penfriend’s family, hearing one of the family saying “J’adore ce livre”. Maman didn’t like this turn of phrase at all and quickly reprimanded her daughter with a sharp “On n’adore que le bon Dieu” – ‘only God is adored’, so watch out!


There are lots of excellent articles and videos on Saint Valentine’s Day. Here are a few links to get you started:

Lawless French Il m’aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout

Comme une Française Dos and Don’ts on La Saint-Valentin, and  La Saint-Valentin Saint-Valentin 2016 : tout savoir sur la date des amoureux


If you haven’t already entered the competition to win a copy of Je mourrai moins bête: 200 French expressions to help you die less stupid on the Lawless French website, it closes on February 14th, 2016. Just answer the question “What was the first French expression you learned?” There are also 8 other ways to enter! Many thanks to all those who have bought a copy of my book. If you have enjoyed reading it, PLEASE, PLEASE leave a review on Amazon. Here are the links for, and

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About the author

Clare Jones was born in the North of England in 1960. She fell in love with the French language at the age of 11 and went on to study it to degree level at Leicester University, where she also became a qualified teacher. In 2011 Clare collaborated with Tamsin Edwards to produce an iPhone application, “Figure out French, Rouler un patin: to give a French kiss and other French expressions for leisure and health”. Though she now lives in England, Clare always has her nose in a French book and she surrounds herself by all things French. She is currently very busy teaching French as a private tutor and when she has the time, she writes a blog on the subject of the French language (click on the blog tab to read it). Clare enjoys tai-chi, swimming, and cycling in the local country park. She is also an enthusiastic member of her local community choir.

About the illustrator

Tamsin Edwards studied art at both Nene Art College, Northampton, and Derby School of Art during the early 1980s. Though well known for her atmospheric watercolour landscapes, Tamsin also creates quirky pen & wash illustrations, often portraying comic images of people and places. Tamsin has already collaborated with Clare Jones to produce an iPhone application. Past commissioned projects also include the children’s storybook ‘Tales of Two Shires’ and a book of poetic verses. As well as regularly exhibiting work and selling to clients around the world, Tamsin has also had several paintings published in an international magazine. To view further examples of her work or to buy original artwork from this book, please visit Tamsin can be contacted at

Author Photo

Illustrator Tamsin Edwards (left) and author Clare Jones (right)

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