Confession. I collect dolls. I have collected dolls since I was a very young girl, then I started collecting masks, and then I opened a portrait studio. I seem to be obsessed with faces. One of my favorite dolls when I was very young was from the Kiddie Kologne collection by Matel. Sour apple, Honeysuckle, I had them all, but the one I loved was Lily-of-the-Valley, for her charming blossoms and delicate scent. I still love Lily-of-the-Valley, but today I have to settle for the flowers.
May 1st, 1561, King Charles IX received a Lily-of-the-Valley for good luck. He liked the idea and offered the same flower to all the ladies in his court. It was a very good idea and 500 years latet the tradition seems to have stuck. Probably because the lady receiving the flower is obliged to give a kiss in return, which seems to inspire quite a bit of generousity. Every year, on May Day, the streets of every town are littered with people selling bouquets of muguets, while the forests are full of people harvesting muguet on the one day it is legal to do so and even the chocolatiers get into the act, filling plastic pots with chocolate soil and adding a plastic sprig of the bloom.
When we were first dating Mr French noticed that I like white flowers in general, and I may have mentioned the Lily-of-the-Valley specifically. The weekend before ‘our’ first May Day he showed up for a date with a huge bouquet of Lily-of-the-Valley. No fillers, just lilies. There were probably 200 sprigs in the bunch. It was gorgeous. It swept me off my feet and made me feel like one of Charles IX ladies at a royal court.