Taking your lover to Paris on 14 February is old hat. Where you really need to be today is Saint-Valentin itself. Yes, the village of just 275 inhabitants opens its doors to the world on this day each year.
For the rest of the calendar, it remains a rather unremarkable village in the overlooked Indre department in the Centre region. But the village comes under the world’s spotlight every February.
The locals don’t mind – in fact, since 1965, they’ve been holding a national lovers’ festival in the village on the weekend closest to Saint Valentine’s Day.
The festivities start today, and shops in Saint-Valentin are expecting hoards of visitors to buy gifts for their loved ones. They can also send them using the special love-themed stamps on sale from the village post office.
Couples will be able to get renew their wedding vows before heading into the lovers’ garden where they can attach their names to the tree of eternal hearts or sip champagne in the lovers’ gazebo.
On Sunday, the reigning Miss France, Flora Coquerel, will bring the festival to a close.
As good as that all sounds, I have to admit I think Paris still has the edge.