Origins of the Village of St. Valentin
France is a country associated with romance, so it’s not surprising that the little village of St. Valentin in Indre, the central Val de Loire region, has declared itself the ‘Village of Love’. The village began the idea in the 1960s, then an enterprising mayor in the 1980s created a Lovers Garden (Jardin des Amoureux) and started an annual festival around St.
Valentine’s Day and the small place, hitherto rather overlooked it must be said, was on the map.
The February Festival at St Valentin Village
During the St. Valentin Festival, the whole place is decked out with flowers (red roses being the favorite) and the Garden is open for business. You can get married in the garden gazebo, pin your love notes on the Tree of Vows, plant a tree that will hopefully flourish or commemorate your love on the Tree of Eternal Hearts.
Three days are given over to the festival: from February 12th to 14th when the population of 285 swells considerably as the village fills up to celebrate. Apart from getting married, you can get your letters stamped from the St. Valentin post office, watch chocolate makers in full heart depiction mode, buy postcards and special gifts, and of course, this being France, have a very good meal and whirl your partner around the dance floor.
There’s also a market and a special church service.
St. Valentin is 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) west of Issoudon, and 161 miles (260 kilometers) south of Paris. It’s an extra place to visit if you are driving around the Loire Valley and particularly if you’re visiting the magnificent cathedral city of Bourges.
If you miss St. Valentine’s Day, come back on August 9th when it’s the turn of Saint Amour.
- Saint Valentin website (French only)
- Location Map (French only)
- Origins of St. Valentine's Day in France
Weird and Wonderful Facts about St. Valentine
- The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6 (as an elder of the church) and July 30 (as a martyr
- There are at least 12 St. Valentines. Valentinus in Latin means strong, worthy or powerful, so it was applied to many martyrs between the second and eighth centuries A.D.
- Valentine is the patron saint of bee keepers and epilepsy, the plague, fainting and traavel, as well as engaged couples and happy marriages. among many other things.
Romantic Places to Visit in France
We all know that Paris is the city of love and you will have your own favorites. Here are a few more ideas.
- Aix-en-Provence is one of the most beautiful towns in this lovely part of France. Sink into the luxury of the Villa Gallici, starting with a Champagne breakfast.
- Try the Loire Valley, but concentrate on the gardens which are such a feature of the UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the best of the private gardens is Notre Dame d'Orsan,. This charming place in the Cher was once a monastery. You can stay here and enjoy them as if they belonged to you.
- Explore the ruined stone buildings of Jumièges Abbey in north France. Once a great Benedictine abbey, it was destroyed, rebuilt and consecrated in the presence of William the Conqueror. Victor Hugo described the ruins as 'the most beautiful in France' and as you wander through the crumbling walls with just the birdsong for company, you'll probably agree. Stay at the peaceful Le Clos des Fontaines opposite.
- If you're in north France, try any of these from the four-poster charms of Montreuil-sur-Mer to a delightful bed and breakfast in Boulogne.
Check out the Guide to Romantic Breaks in North France.
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