France! Home to the ‘City of Love’. Famous for its decadent food. Full of charming scenery and historic architecture. Birthplace to a person named Thierry Soufflard who took the time to write (and research?) a guidebook entitled The Best Places to Kiss in Paris.
I traveled through France with my family when I was young. Though I’d love to visit many places in Europe, I’d most like to return to France. So when some friends and I decided to organize a Romance Around the World blog hop and giveaway for Valentine’s Day, I leapt at the chance to blog about love customs in France.
Love locks are padlocks that couples attach to public fixtures. The sweethearts write their initials on the lock, affix it somewhere, and then throw away the key to symbolize their unbreakable love. Around the year 2000, love locks started appearing in several places across Europe. Cologne, Germany. Edinburgh, Scotland. Rome, Italy. The trend has now reached places as far flung as South Korea, Canada, Australia, and America.
But the Parisian love locks are perhaps the most famous. So many of them (approximately 700,000) were attached to the Pont des Arts bridge that the structure actually began to crumble and the locks had to be removed by the city.
Well, I couldn’t talk about France and not mention dessert, could I?
The French serve cake at weddings but they also often serve something called a croquembouche. A popular French chef of that late 1700’s and early 1800’s named Antoine Careme is credited with creating it. The dessert has been made and enjoyed ever since. It’s a cone-shaped tower of profiteroles (cream-filled pastries) held together with drizzled caramel.
The term trousseau, familiar to so many of us, comes from the French word trousse, which means case. As in a pencil case or doctor’s case.
Long ago, when girls married young, fledgling couples often needed help acquiring items for their new home. So it became a tradition to prepare a trousseau for a bride to take with her when she married. In some cases, mothers began tucking items into wedding armoires or hope chests for their daughter’s trousseau when their daughters were girls. The trousseau included things like sheets, napkins, night dresses, table cloths. All the linens would have been hand embroidered by the mother of the bride and the bride, unless the family was wealthy enough to hire a seamstress or two.
The tradition of giving practical and useful gifts to couples still exists in some form today through bridal showers.
La Coupe de Marriage
Traditionally, French brides and grooms would drink a wedding toast at their reception from an engraved, two-handled cup called La Coupe de Marriage. In fact, the origin of the term ‘give a toast’ comes from this practice. At one time, a small piece of toast would have been dropped into the two-handled cup to guarantee the couple a healthy life. Then the couple would lift their cup, and in doing so, literally ‘raise a toast’.
Often times in French wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom stand beneath a silk canopy called a carre to exchange their vows. The carre came into use because some believed it would protect the couple from evil influences while they were speaking their vows. It could be that this French tradition was a precursor to the bridal veil.
Have you visited France? If so, what stands out in your memory?
Now on to information about the Romance Around the World blog hop and giveaway….
You can enter the main giveaway for a Kindle Fire, chocolate, bubble bath, Starbucks gift card, $75 pajama gram, and eight novels right here on this page via the entry box below. In order to enter, you’ll simply need to agree to receive occasional e-newsletters from the participating authors.
We’re also offering a side giveaway, open only to those of you who visit all four Romance Around the World blog posts throughout the week. You’ll find the links to the blog posts below. At each stop, you’ll be able to collect a few secret words. By the end of the week, you’ll have accumulated a secret sentence that will qualify you to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card, a literary mug, and a ‘Reading is my Adventure’ throw blanket at Rachel’s blog on February 14th. So be sure to visit the following writers on the following days to read about romance around the world!
On February 8th, Dani Pettrey chatted about romance in Ireland here.
On February 10th, Susan May Warren blogged about romance in Russia here.
On February 12th, Becky Wade is blogging about romance in France right here on this post. 🙂
On February 14th, Rachel Hauck will chat about romance in England here.
My secret words are: Doubt truth to be a liar,
Best of luck, everyone, and happy Valentine’s Day!
p.s. If you’re someone who reads on your e-reader, this is a fantastic time to try one of my books. They’re ALL on sale for a limited time!
- Undeniably Yours — free
- Meant to Be Mine — $4.99 on Kindle, $6.99 on Nook
- A Love Like Ours — $4.99 on Kindle, $6.99 on Nook