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Dear Straight Men,

Dear Straight Men,
I know that Valentine’s Day is hard for you. I know that you don’t understand “the concept.” I know that you don’t understand the importance. But, for us, it means a lot. The chocolates, the flowers, the jewelry, the restaurant, the little gifts… It means a lot to us. Not monetarily, fool. Valentine’s Day means that you care. It means that you are thankful for everything we do for you which is mostly everything. It means that you are appreciative that we birthed your 10 pound baby. It means that you are appreciative that we cook a gourmet meal for you seven nights out of the week, well at least three. It means that you are appreciative that we spend hundreds of dollars at the hair salon to touch up our roots… For you. It means that you are appreciative that we spend hundreds of hours at Pilates… For you. It means that you are appreciative that we don’t file for divorce when you are being a big fat baby. It means that you are appreciative when we organize every single holiday and continue to invite your family. It means that you are appreciative that you chose the greatest girl on the entire Earth to marry and spend your life with. See? Now do you see the importance of Valentine’s Day? It may be too late for this year, seeing as Valentine’s Day is… now, but there is always next year. This brings me to my next point. Do you really want to just knock it out of the park for Valentine’s Day? Do you want to make sure your Valentine’s Day is a sure thing? My advice is to bring your love to the city of love… Paris. There is not a more romantic city. I have put together a little guide for you. A guide to ensure that you will make her Valentine’s Day the best ever. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but how you spend it. Nothing about this list is cheap, well priced, inexpensive, well budgeted or frugal. Those adjectives are for other days, not Valentine’s Day. Remember, this is about the woman who is your partner, your confidante, the woman who is keeping your children out of prison and off drugs, the woman who thinks you are the most handsome man on earth, the woman who is willing to go on vacations with you, and this is the woman who politely says thank you even when you give her the ugliest FTD red roses with baby’s breath for Valentine’s Day. So, when it comes to Paris… Here is my advice… You’re welcome in advance…

Let’s start with the flowers…

In my opinion, there is only one shop in Paris for flowers…Odorantes. Tucked away in the 6th arrondissement on a street aptly named Rue Madame… Obviously, this is a Parisian flower shop made in heaven.

 Now, head back over to the 1st arrondissement and present yourself at a shop named Buccellati.

Buccellati is the epitome of elegance. Century-old Italian jewelry. Place Vendôme. Enough said. DeBeers, it ain’t. My suggestion is a little honeycomb ring with little darling diamonds.

 Pop back over to the Left Bank on rue Bonaparte and visit a chic little shop named Buly

Choose some candles, scented matches, creams and perfumes and give the salesgirl your black AMEX because you’re going to need it at this shop. How can something so little cost so much? It’s just cream for God sake! Oh well, it’s worth it.

Keep the Uber meter running and head to rue du Mont Thabor to a shop called Frederic Malle

It is rare that I introduce a new perfume to my collection but this one is an absolute must have. They had me at the name… Portrait of a Lady. If you want your love to give off an air of a chic English rose… This is the perfume for her.

Nope, we’re not finished yet… You cannot get through Valentine’s Day without chocolate!

Since I’m allowed to eat as much chocolate as I want, I have become quite the connoisseur. I go through about 100 pieces of chocolate a week and my vote for the best chocolate in Paris is Patrick Roger. I shop at the one either in Saint Germain or the one at place de la Madeleine. Buy her one of everything in the shop. Don’t ask questions, just do it and don’t be surprised if she doesn’t share.

Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret...

When my friends at Perrin Paris sent me a photo of their new purse from their new shop on rue d'Alger in Paris, I swear to God, my heart skipped a beat. Never have you laid eyes on a more perfect Valentine’s Day purse. Gold, pink, fur, leather… What more could you want? Looking to get lucky Valentine eve? Simply buy this purse…

Now take all of this back to your hotel. Which hotel you ask?  Le Dokhan's of course!

Le Dokhan's is my favorite little boutique hotel in Paris. It is in the bourgeois 16th arrondissement and could not be chicer. The hotel is an old hôtel particulier which in American terms means big fat mansion. The decor is done by none other than one of my favorite designers, Frédéric Méchiche. There is a little champagne bar in the perfectly perfect tiny restaurant that will blow your mind. This hotel is quiet and romantic. Hint: request the apartment on the top floor.

Last but not least… The restaurant.…

The restaurant that you choose for Valentine’s Day is superduper important. You need to find a spot that is romantic, non-touristy with outstanding food. You want to take your love to a place that you will always remember. That place is Chez Josephine on rue du Cherche-Midi.

Don’t forget to write her a beautiful love letter as well.

And that, my dear Sir, is how Valentine’s Day is done in Paris. Oh my God, you are so welcome.



  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Such a Valentine will never be mine, but he's worth it anyway.
    Thank you for a lovely pretend.

  2. Ah... I wish I had a man to share this info with but alas im single & still looking since my boyfriend up and married some high flutin lawyer named Amal...hmph...guess I'll be buying flowers, chocolates and a little bauble for myself...happy Valentine's day to me & you E! xoxo

  3. Thank you! Could not have said it better! And could not send your post off to my son fast enough. Can't wait to hear what David pulls out of his hat for you for Valentine's Day. You have to share!
    Big thank you for just being you! Your'e the best!

  4. Dear Ellie, I love your Valentines Day post! I have sent this link to my husband!! Wishing you a very Happy Valentines Day and thank you for sharing your beautiful life with me through your amazing blog. Jeanne Smith, West Jordan, Utah

  5. Yes, yes, YES!!

    Now, I just need the man!

    I hope you are having a lovely day.

  6. Ellie,
    I sent this blog post to all my sons, for future reference. Also to the mister. It is wonderful. Too late for Paris this year, but a girl can dream.!

  7. I will forward this to my Husband, however I fear he will pay no notice to it at all. V-day is a non event in our house. He likes to claim that it's not romantic when it is a special day to be romantic… so he prefers to surprise me. The (no) surprise is that this doesn't seem to happen on other days of the year.
    And as for jewellery, well my last birthday was a good one (40th) so I cannot complain, but I remember to thank my Father often for his advice to my Husband when we were about to be married 15 years ago "You never make money off jewellery, it's not a good investment. When I realised this I stopped buying her Mother any". I'm not kidding. Dad was lucky to make it through the night alive after that little gem.

    1. So funny about what your father said! I hope this Valentine's Day is fantastic! XOXO

  8. hmmmmm
    Glad I don't have to do all this. But it all sounds lovely.
    The best Valentine's I've had so far was when my boyfriend dumped me on the 13th a few years ago. He was crazy skinny and I barely ate the whole time we dated because I looked like a fat giraffe next to him. I also didn't like him very much, but needed to make my ex jealous (I know, I'm so evolved) So when he dumped me I was euphoric and hungry. My friend K and I went and had big steaks and then got Krispy Kreme doughnuts and ate them in the car. My worst Valentines ended with a giant box of skittles hurled across a tanning salon.
    My advice to straight men, in addition to this wonderful piece, is to ask for help when you're in over your head. It's okay. You're not in this alone. Call a friendly gay or your wife's sister for help. Don't buy something just to buy something! Then you'll get in trouble for wasting money.
    And for god's sake, see a real florist if you're not good with flowers!

    1. I will be your Valentine but only if you reenact the Skittles scene.

    2. Stephen I have to say, I adore you! You and Ellie are the perfect pair and keeping laughing out loud. I say that a skinny boyfriend that doesn't like food is a good ex-boyfriend!

    3. I think that I would pay good money to see that happen Ellie.

      And it goes without saying that your list is perfect. But you already knew that. :)

    4. You absolutely must tell about the skittles incident! My most unlovely Valentines was when my ex-husband gave me permission to purchase something I had been wanting after a year of fighting with me about it.

      That is one reason among many that he is "ex" and that he is now working on his third wife. I was the first and the best!

  9. I am forwarding this to my boyfriend and telling him that we never say no to any of Ellie's suggestions!
    Buccellati is my favorite I'm not much for jewelry but theirs is special, Maria and Andrea are good friends and I always feel that it makes wearing the Buccellati jewelry extra special!
    Happy Valentines our spirited wonderful Ellie!

    1. Definitely forward to your boyfriend! Please tell the Buccellati's that their jewelry has stolen my heart. XOXO

  10. omg, perfect, don't have a valentine guy for tomorrow, but keeping this LIST for it....
    interesting purse ~ love boutique hotels....merci ~ I'll have to print this and leave it around, when he shows up, ha ha ha, XO be my Valentine, happy Valentine's to You & Bunny !!!

  11. Thank you, I read this aloud to my husband this morning in snowy Boston. His response was perfect, Paris next Valentine's Day. I Was worried about you, because you had not posted in quite a while. It's wonderful to hear from you again.

  12. Oh my, I'm really missing out ain't I???? I woke this Valentine's Day to the following---big plastic balloon on the kitchen counter that says "Happy Valentine's Day"; a lovely army green ;) bud vase with 6 plastic red roses in it; 2 pair of work gloves (I go thru them pretty good when re-finishing or working on beat up furniture) and a card that said something like "You got the best gift ever---ME!!" We are heading out to the farmer's market for some fresh veggies and then we'll be on our way to the LaQuinta about 20 miles away for our special Valentine's Day which includes hitting a flea market in the area.
    Gotta love this guy and yep, I really do! I do hope your day has been a very special one for you filled with love!

  13. I'm giving my hubby a big FAT bill for a new kitchen because he thought it would be prudent to save money on a *real* plumber and have our dishwasher installed by someone clearly inept. I'm typing this at my jerry-rigged kitchen counter whilst looking down into my basement. Love you to bits, Ellie. I hope you and David have a lovely day !

    Bonnie - Canada -27C

  14. Makes me want to hop onto a plane and head over! Someday...

    Wanted to share something I came across. A couple are renovating a chateau in France and are documenting it through a website. Very interesting and such a gorgeous place! I can't wait to see it done! Anyway, thought you might be interested.

  15. I DO BELIEVE Mimi of MANGER BLOG wears PORTRAIT of a LADY!!!!!
    And that HANDBAG............IS that a CUFF for your bracelet,than the PINK POOF is the BAG?!!


  16. What a fairy-tale Valentine's Day you have described! My husband always makes it special for me. Like you, I implore men to take Valentine's Day and gift-giving seriously, because daughters learn how they should be treated by men - and sons learn how to treat women - by the examples their fathers set. I hope Bunny makes the day special for you and sets a good example for dear Gracie.

  17. Ellie your suggestions sound wonderful....
    I hope David reads this and makes your Valentine's Day memorable.
    I am going to visit the florist and the perfume shop when I come to Paris....fresh flowers in my hotel room and a new scent are now on my see and do list!
    Thank you!

  18. Ellie,
    I hope your Valentine's Day with David takes place exactly according to what you've described! I hope you both enjoy a lovely day together!

  19. Happy Valentines Day Ellie. I love all the suggestions. Now if I could only get my French husband up to Paris...

  20. I loved this! A few years ago, my husband ordered ribs from Rendevouz in Memphis for Valentines. Yes, no flowers. No chocolate. My 2 non-straight male friends treated each other to a trip to Paris. My husband still doesn't understand why I was a bit disappointed because the ribs were delicious!

  21. That was awesome as we Americans love to say!

  22. Sounds like the Valentine's Day of my dreams...maybe someday! Everything sounds fantastic.

  23. Yeah, my husband finally listened to me and didn't do anything for valentines day.

    Me and my big mouth.

  24. I wish....I provided little red chocolate hearts for my husband and children and even my father in law.................I am STILL WAITING

  25. What a dream day you depicted Ellie! I could just picture myself in it... One day, I hope.
    We had a fabulous Valentine's Day, actually a Valentine's Long Weekend on Maui. The crowning experience was a foodie tour (no, they do not commercially exist, this was organized just for us) of upcountry Maui with a sunset on to of Haleakala. Wore our ski jackets for that one- where else can you wear winter gear in Hawaii- and it was definitely worth braving the cold.

  26. Catching up on your posts, and I loved this one, in particular! I made my first ever visit to Paris this past fall (stayed at Hotel Westminster on Place Vendome), and I dream of returning with my husband. I did have to laugh, though, when I got to your hotel recommendation. I actually do freelance writing for the company that owns the Dokhan, and every year, I review and re-write various hotel websites, including this one. I'm glad to hear it's everything I've been saying it is!