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
literally: a dinner with candles
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:
Internaute.com 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 Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Amazon.fr.Share this blog post: