Le Weekend, 2/11/22: A Clitoris Stroking Cult In Paris, The Language of Love & Chocolates 🇫🇷

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February 11, 2022

Dear Frenchly Readers,

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. And today we published a long, funny, strange and titillating piece by the American novelist, Peter Nichols, about joining, for a time, what can only be described as a clitoris stroking cult in Paris. You can find it here. You’ll just have to trust me that it’s worth a read, not only for its novelty and bracing honesty, but also for its dry wit.

Now, in the U.S, it’s common for kids to spend an afternoon or two before Valentine’s Day—which, Ă©videmment, is this coming Monday– creating lovely valentines  out of  red construction paper and doilies to give to their parents, siblings, and friends in school. My younger child, at least, will be doing that this Sunday. My older one, being 13, will likely make them for Dan and me and his brother, but I’m not sure it’s really comme d’habitude for middle schoolers. These valentines will be about expressing friendship, tolerance, and gratitude. In France, though, children are not going to be spending their Sundays making Valentines this year, or any year. Valentine’s Day over there is not so much about affection, but about love—the libidinal kind.

So, with that in mind, I asked my co-workers at French Morning to send me (over Slack) any and every expression of love, in French, they could think of. Perhaps predictably,  the conversation got pretty steamy and …just a tad vulgar!

Below I’m going to list some of my favorites: I submit them for a much-needed French giggle and, I hope, in time for your own (fresh) card-making forays this weekend.

  • “la petite mort” or… “the little death,” means a brief loss of consciousness…during an orgasm.
  • “conter fleurette” or… “whisper sweet nothings,” i.e. pillow talk.
  • “voir ma collection de papillons” or… “come check out my butterfly collection,” (code for, let’s go to a room and have sex).
  • “le petit chat est mort” …attributed to Molière, from his play L’école des femmes (The School for Wives) this is something a woman would say–“my little cat is dead”– when she has lost her virginity (and was likely satisfied in the process).
  • “tremper son biscuit” or…to dip one’s wick—a man, obviously. Vulgar. Don’t say it to your grandmother or Professor McGonagall. 
  • “grimper aux rideaux” or… “to climb the curtains,” by giving and receiving pleasure.
  • “mettre le petit JĂ©sus dans la crèche,” or… “put the baby Jesus in the crèche.” OMG this one made me laugh! None other than a Catholic country would produce such a saying!!
  • “s’envoyer en l’air” or… “to throw yourself or another up in the air,” or “have a shag.”
  • “manger l’oreiller”  or…”eat the pillow, a.k.a: place where you put your ear,” or “have an orgasm.”
  • “monter au septième ciel” or… “take it to the 7th heaven,” in other words give someone (usually a woman) pleasure.

Ooh-la-la, that’s enough for a Friday afternoon!  (and, double Ooh-la-la, here’s a new single called, “Paris, Ooh-la-la” from a Francophile musician in our Frenchly community). If you still want more, here’s a 1963 song full of expressions of sexuality—you might need to run it through Deepl to get the full effect. And this really terrific site that will give you everything from chaste expressions of love in French to a slightly racier  vocab list.

Cook, watch & read ce weekend  (Cuisinier, Regarder et Lire): 

On Frenchly this week, we have this piece about why Americans living in Paris love to hate Emily in Paris; two pieces about chocolates—one about French or Belgian chocolates you can buy in the States, andanother about the 4 best chocolatiers in Paris. We have French films for every possible Valentine’s Day mood or manner; French literary “love” quotes and this terrific collection from Anne-Fleur of three podcasts about love—one is about breaking up, another about a love story that lasted sixty-years, and another about every kind of kissing in France—all really wonderful and unique. Check those out!

Speaking of chocolate, Dan and I watched the 2000 film Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche, the other night. If you’ve never seen it, or it’s been 22 years since you did, it’s still just as wonderful as it was the first time around. It stars Binoche and Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench (somehow already playing an old lady, 22 years ago), Lena Olin and Carrie-Anne Moss. It’s about a woman and her daughter who move to a quiet, traditional French town and open a chocolaterie. It’s fantastical and moving and perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Now, by the time you read this, I will be taking a few days off to go hole up in a friend’s second house to work on revisions to a novel I wrote during the first year of the pandemic and sold last summer to Harper Books (pub date: TBA in 2023). But I am coming home on Sunday to make Valentines for my kids and husband and to wrap the small things we have been gathering for our children to open in the morning—usually we have a special chocolate bar for each boy, and a book or CD or a new pair of PJs. On Valentine’s Day, Dan and I have plans to go sit in a hot tub at a local organic farm and wellness center and then, later, my kids and I will make a pineapple upside down cake together when they come home from school—this is something we do every year on Valentine’s Day—and something my mother and I did in my youth. ( Here’s a good recipe here, though I combine several gluten-free flours for mine, and I use yogurt, not milk, and I never ever use maraschino cherries.) For dinner, we’ll put some Erik Satie on the stereo, open some vin rouge, make Bobby Flay’s chickpea and kale salad and grill up some grass fed and organic steak from Applecreek Farm.

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day—however you do or don’t celebrate it.

Take care, stay in touch.

Ă€ bientĂ´t,



PS: I did put the photos up of me in the cloak my son made me that I wrote about 2 weeks ago—they are here, in this Le Weekend.

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