May 1, or le premier mai, is the official start of spring in France. The French have celebrated the beginning of this season for centuries by giving each other sprigs of Lily of the Valley, or le Muguet, a fragrant and delicate bell-shaped flower. You will see these being sold on many street corners and in Métro stations in France. Some shops will give customers complimentary flowers as a blessing of luck for the new season.
These flowers smell heavenly, and their scent is popular in soaps and lotions. However, all parts of the plant and flower are poisonous, so no eating! If you’d like to plant these bulbs in your garden, choose a shady spot with rich, loamy soil. Lily of the Valley will multiply quickly from year to year, so keep an eye on their growth. These lovely blossoms will bring cheer, elegance, and a lovely perfume to your garden.
For more tips on gardening and French living, see my book Ooh la la! French Inspirations for Entertaining and Travel, available here at its reduced COVID-19 price of just $40 (including shipping!).