Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Le Premier Mai

Thursday is May First -- le premier mai -- which is a national holiday in France (essentially the equivalent of Labor Day in the U.S., to make a long story short). It's also traditionally when you offer a bunch -- or even just of stem-- of lilies-of-the-valley (les muguets) to those you are fond of. It's supposed to bring happiness and good luck. And the French government is said to allow (tolérer) individuals and organizations to sell muguets on May 1 without a permit or having to pay sales tax, which I guess is why you see the vendors on the streets of Paris.

But the florists do a brisk business, too -- and so elegantly. This display is in the vitrine of Baptiste, one of the greatest fleuristes in the 7e arrondissement. I took the photo at night as I passed by. Not too bright a picture, but it brightened my evening!

Life being what it is, websites have sprouted, as fast as springtime bulbs, that allow you to send a virtual muguet -- en français. Not the same scent. Not the same effort.

Not the same, period.


Auntie Nic said...

Thank you for the reminder. I did receive an email last year with a bunch of Muguets. Sweet.

Autolycus said...

I must make a point on Thursday of playing my record of this:


Unknown said...

A few years back, when May Day was on a Sunday, we logged about 8 miles (on foot) because the buses were infrequent. The whole city was perfumed, it seemed. The best muguets were in the Marais, I thought.

Polly-Vous Francais said...


Thanks so much for that video link. I didn't know the Berlioz muguet chanson.

Nikki and Mimi,

When my kids were little, even though we were in the states, I used to have thme make small bouquets of flowers in a paper cone and leave them on neighbors' doorknobs.

So tomorrow I think I'll get some muguets for the my 94-year old neighbor, and maybe some for Madame Tabac! (Maybe a good idea to get some for my gardienne as well).

Happy May Day, everyone!

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