My Gay Paree Travel Tips… May Day with ‘Muguet’

I used to live in Paris and, a Frenchman aside, I picked up a thing or two about the City of Lights during my time there. Here’s the first of ‘My Gay Paree Travel Tips’…

May Day with ‘Muguet’ – Rue Montorgueil, Paris

Printemps à Paris

Paris in springtime – there’s nowhere like it. Need proof? Then take a stroll through the city when the boulevards and quaysides erupt into a riot of pinky-cream blossom. But it’s not just the trees that are in bloom at this time of year. Parisians usher in the first hints of sunshine with bouquets of white lilies.

Muguet des Bois AKA Lily of the Valley

Muguet des Bois AKA Lily of the Valley

May Day, French-style

As May Day swings round, make-shift stalls start popping up on every street corner selling posies of lily of the valley – or ‘muguet des bois’, to give it its French name. Normally, selling flowers (or anything else for that matter) requires a permit. However, what with May 1st being a national holiday, you can sidestep the usual red tape. As such, anyone can sell the dainty bell-like blooms without fear of getting a wrap on the knuckles from ‘les flics’.

Rue montorgueil

Of course, the city’s florists cash in big time, setting up enormous snow-white arrangements beneath their shop-front awnings. But head to somewhere like the ever-buzzy rue Montorgueil and you’ll spot charity workers and entrepreneurial Parisians erecting trestle tables to sell lily stems to passersby.

Perfumed Paris metro

It’s a lovely tradition which everyone seems to embrace. From floppy-haired ‘flâneurs’ to snappily-dressed ‘hommes d’affaires’, you’ll see all walks of life clutching their sprigs to give to their mums, girlfriends, wives, mistresses – you name it. But the real plus point? It’s the one day of the year when the Paris metro smells more like the perfume counter at Galeries Lafayette and less like the local ‘pissoir’.

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3 thoughts on “My Gay Paree Travel Tips… May Day with ‘Muguet’

  1. Here in Canaday, any resident can sell things twice a year legally (usually used stuffs or decorations kind of objects).

    I wish that lily-of-the-valley can flower at least twice a year, its unforgettable fragrance and cute dainty bell like flowers is such a treat in spring! 🙂

  2. Love a snowdrop, too 🙂 It means spring has sprung!

  3. Reblogged this on monsieur torres and commented:

    Well, it’s 1st May so I figured this is topical – May Day in Paris…

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