Happy Valentine’s Day!
Love is in the air on this 14th day of February. How did Valentine’s Day become the most popular day of the year for love? The 18th-century era became known for romance, and love letters, flowers, and poems began to be exchanged between lovers. Learn about Napoleon and his love for Josephine, romance in France, and take a look at these origins and legends of this most romantic day of the year:
- Birds’ mating season in the middle of February was recognized during the Middle Ages in England and France. Learn more about breeding birds that migrate between England and France and the breeding season of Robins.
- The oldest Valentine’s Day English message was written in 1477.
- It is believed that St. Valentine was a priest from Rome in the third century A.D. Valentine ended up in jail because he had arranged marriages in secret after marriages had been banned. Emperor Claudius II believed “that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.” In 278 A.D. Valentine was beheaded. He had left a note to the jailer’s daughter who had become his friend and signed it, “From Your Valentine”.
- In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.
- During February 13-15, ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, an ancient fertility festival.
- Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his poem Parlement of Foules in 1382. This is the “first recorded instance of St Valentine’s Day.”
Best Places in France for a Romantic February Trip
Interested in taking a romantic trip to France? Begin in Paris and experience the city of love. Learn the 18th-century history of the reign of Napolean I and his love with his Empress, Josephine. Then travel south to the romantic Saint-Valentin and continue on a couple hours’ drive to stay in the lovely Chateau Golf des Sept Tours.
Saint-Valentin is 161 miles south of Paris. Because of its name, naturally, the village attracts tourists. People from all over France come there on the closest weekend to Valentine’s Day to celebrate love or to renew their vows.
When visiting France in February, be sure to pack your coat and an umbrella because it’s typically cold and wet. Bring your boots because you’ll probably see snow. You can see why, according to tripsavvy.com, the second month of the year is the least expensive time to tour France. However, it can be worth your while with special deals (like lower airfare and hotel prices) during the off-season and no long tourist-attraction lines. Look at this website for further details on what to pack, February weather in various parts of France, sights to see, shopping and more.
A visit to the beautiful chateau, Chateau Golf des Sept Tours, inspired the setting for Silk or Sugar, my first book of the French Connection Series. Janine de Fleury sails from New Orleans in 1803 to reclaim her dead parents’ estate and faces dilemmas. First, an imposter has taken possession of her ancestral home. Second, Janine encounters unexpected affairs of the heart. She, a Royalist, holds a deep and secret affection for the handsome French Republican Army soldier, Colonel Etienne Tremeau, who is in the service of the great general, Napoleon Bonaparte. But dark forces come against Janine and Etienne.
Napolean, the Romantic
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), fell in love with Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, widow of the Viscount de Beauharnais. They married in March 1796. She was ten years older than he, but that mattered none to him as he was madly in love with her. History accounts of his romantic love letters, a common practice in the 18th century, some even sexually explicit. Lovers would exchange handmade cards to portray their love for one another with a poem and romantic symbols like flowers and love knots. Shakespeare’s Hamlet mentions Valentine’s Day (17th century), and a popular Valentine’s poem of today was found in a nursery rhyme collection in 1784.
Despite Napolean’s fierce love for Josephine, their love endured a love-hate relationship and love affairs with others. But the marriage didn’t last. Napoleon’s desire for an heir exceeded his love for Josephine, and he divorced her because she was unable to conceive that heir he desperately wanted.
Napoléon crowned Joséphine Empress of the French in 1804, and the divorce came five years after her coronation. Nonetheless, he insisted Josephine keep her titles of Empress, even after he had remarried an Austrian princess. Perhaps, Napolean dealt with torment over his choice. Apparently, his heartstrings were not completely severed from Josephine because on his deathbed, he spoke these last words: “France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine”.
Surprise your historical fiction lover Valentine with a
Return to Chateau Fleury, the second book in The French Connection Series, is now released and available on Amazon. The story begins in Paris in 1998 with American Claire Bennett who is determined to solve the mystery surrounding her French heritage. Two time periods are covered in this novel. Claire and the dashing French aristocrat, Marc-Claude de Laval are intertwined in a shared past life together during the latter years of the 18th century and the French Revolution. Enjoy this historical fiction romance novel as conflict arises and romantic sparks fly.