Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fete de Muguet - May sketches

It's that time of year in Paris. Everyone is buying plants to put on their balcony or window boxes.
Flowers are spilling out on to the street and the fragrance as you walk by is delicious.
Chocolate bunnies and hens have been replaced by sprigs/brin of lily of the valley or muguet in anticipation for the 1st of May, a national holiday in France.
I stopped in the flower market at Cité yesterday for a look.
As Claire said the price of pots of muguet can vary widely. These are 10€.
My pot from BHV was just 4.50 - was it the lovely scent that made me loose my head and drop my credit cards on the floor?
Stacks and stacks of cards wishing Spring good luck to all.
And so many bottles of flowery muguet scents, many of them only available for the month of May - limited editions like a special Pierre Hermé macaron flavor.
Monthly excitement over the latest celebration is what makes living in Paris so much fun.
The French tradition of giving muguet as a lucky charm goes back to the 16th century. During his reign, Charles IX began offering sprigs of muguet for luck.
Wreaths of muguet were hung on doorways to announce the bans of new brides-to-be in the Spring. They're still used in bridal bouquets for their delicacy and scent.
La Mere de Famile has chocolate flower pots filled with praline. Mazet puts their nuts on the outside like an inside out sushi roll.
You can buy their chopped praliné and fill your own chocolate pots.
Sarah Vasseghi created a tabletop design of sugar paste muguet on little cakes. The how-to directions are on Prima(in French).
Lily of the valley (my birth flower) popping up everywhere made me want to draw their lyrical leaves and inhale their perfume. I've been buying bunches/boite in the market as soon as they showed up and then the plant with 3 sprigs.
What a perfect way to illustrate Spring and give Mom a lift.
May Sketch letters going out will be in Muguet-scented envelopes with an original watercolor lily of the valley on the envelope. Bear has given Mini Bear her envelope early. There's still time to send out a gift letter for May 11, Mother's Day. Je porte Bonheur!


  1. I swear just an hr ago I flipped my ME calendar and saw April 30th..May 1rst.. and thought of your previous May 1rst post.
    I have LOTV..but it isn't even poking here yet.
    And my LOTV perfume bottle is empty and in my unmentionables drawer..Janice knows about that drawer:)
    It was one of my mom's fave scents and mine of course genetically.

    This is a lovely post and I pinned the cake..too cute..may try..

    Your aquarelle and letters/envelopes..♥
    You have a beautiful..sentimental birth flower.
    LOTV suit galvanized~
    Love the pale blue shrug too.

    1. The pale blue shrug may be a denim jacket teying to be outdoorsy but I like your idea better Monique.

  2. Love your fresh spring post. Haven't found the Muguet in my garden yet !! It must be choked with weeds due to neglect. Love your sketches on the envelopes. It brings back sweet memories of when I was a child and I peeped inside the little draw where she kept her special things. :)

    1. Ah what a sweet story Lillian
      The muguet in Paris come from Nantes.

  3. Images of a wonderful time of the year!
    I shall see if my Diorissimo still smells of muguet like it is supposed to do.
    Happy First May,

    1. This past week I doused myself in Diorisimo and all of these perfumes. Now I'm sprouting buds

  4. Muget rules - none round here as you can imagine!

  5. What a lovely post. I too am so crazy for muguet .... The image and the scent. It grew wild behind our garage and I was the only one in the family who loved it.

    Thanks so much for the darling photos. Paris always!

    Karen in VA

  6. One of my favorite things about Paris are the flower shops on so many blocks, with their lovely bouquets and little pots beautifully arranged (of course!) on the sidewalks. Tiny inexpensive hostess gifts and perfect for brightening a hotel room!

  7. Oh, I hope the scent lasts through the post from Paris to Michigan! Lily of the Valley is one of my very favorites, so I know I'll love this letter! (I always do!) Rick's have started to pop up but mine are on the north side of the house and they are later. I love the idea of the holiday! Maybe I'll make my own holiday tomorrow!

  8. Fete de Muguet and associated rituals bring sweet memories of France and once staying in a boutique hotel on Rue du Bac the owner had been an exchange student in Santa Barbara where we lived...such a lovely woman...and a great time. Cheers Carol!

  9. The flower market looks awesome!
    I like the third shot in, too....plants in metal containers. Reminds me of my youth :)

  10. Oh la, may my favorite!
    It's coincidentally my birthday :)
    I ordered your May letter just now.
    A birthday gift pour moi

  11. Kathryn2:13 PM

    Ah, a coax to my scent memory. Lilies of the Valley. Can't wait. Happy May Day!

  12. Bonjour ma chère amie,

    Je profite de ce 1er mai pour te souhaiter plein de bonheur pour toi et tous ceux que tu aimes.
    Une très jolie publication.
    Moi le muguet la semaine dernière je l'ai cueilli dans la forêt en me promenant avec Icarus mon dalmatien.
    Du muguet sauvage qui a un parfum extrêmement subtil.
    Je t'en envoie plein de brins...
    Gros bisous ♡

  13. Growing up, lillies of the valley grew outside my bedroom window so I would awake to the scent during spring & early summer and miss growing them as California is not conducive to them, though I have tried. I guess I'll have to order the May letter & give myself a little present.

  14. Anonymous6:58 PM

    I love Lily of the Valley. I have a friend living in Liausson, France and we have exchanged small handmade gifts for Les Muguets Day (Friendship Day) for several years now. Love your posts.

  15. Bonnie L7:48 PM

    LOVE May! It is my birth month as well. Our lily of the valley are not even close to blooming. Does any flower smell as sweet?? Can't wait for the May sketch letter, it looks lovely!

    Must tell you that my mailman handed over the April sketch letter with a "you've got another letter from France". HA! He doesn't miss much.

    Bonne fête de muguet!

    1. I love it!
      Get his address and I'll send him one gratis :))

  16. The scent of muguets always reminds me of springtime in my girlhood home...we had a virtual river of them 3 feet wide by 20 feet long, right beside the house. Every time I find a lily of the valley perfume, I try it, hoping to duplicate that unbelievable scent. So far, no luck! Best stick tot he real things.

    1. Try:
      Annick Goutal Muguet - my fav I think.
      Guerlain is 400 euros...hmmm
      Penhaligon's was awfully nice
      They are all over $100 for a wild flower perf.
      Hmmm...go figure

  17. Oh thank you again for showing a bit of Paris. My trips there have most often been in the spring...sadly not this year...You've reminded me that I left my cute muguets back at my old home... Bonne fête du muguet, Carol. Now, about that view in your last post...

  18. Oh, how beautiful! I love muguet - can't wait for my Mai sketch letter!

  19. Love the piece on Fete de Muguet--I had so hoped to be in Paris on May 1st your post lifted my spirits! And I signed up for one of your beautiful letters for Mother's Day! I love lilies of the valley and will be hunting them down today in NYC.

    Happy May 1st! Fete de Muguet!

    1. Thanks LuLu for your memory,
      The 1st year here I loved it.
      The 2nd year not so much.
      But now I know the backstory and history I love the muguet tradition again ! :)

  20. Happy May Day, Carol! You are living the dream. Amitiés

  21. les pots de muguet au chocolat de Mazet confiseur, à commander ici :


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