Certain aspects of French life are well known across the world. For example, French wine, pastries, cheeses, artists and film directors have gained international fame. However, according to the Online World Flower Indigenous Resource Directory, "The indigenous flowers of France rank just next to the wine in being the identity of France." Thus, flowers figure closely in French culture and tradition.
On May first in France it is customary to go out to the countryside and gather a bunch of lilies of the valley. Lilies of the valley grow easily and steadily throughout France and Europe. They are a delicate flower with several small bell-like blossoms. According to tradition, you should take the flowers home, put them in a vase and allow their fresh scent to assist in renewing your home for spring.
Irises are a vivid purple and yellow flower that flourish all over France, particularly in the village of Gordon in the Alps. Hundreds of different varieties of the iris abound across the world. Historically, King Louis 12th deemed the fleur-de-lis, or the iris, as the official French symbol. Thus, the flower has a special significance for the French. The French also use the flower to create iris butter, a foundational ingredient for a range of perfumes.
Lilies grow all over France and are often used in wedding bouquets along with white roses. French tradition imitates English tradition when it comes to weddings -- all the flowers are usually white. However, sometimes the bride will sport a colored bouquet with a variety of flowers that symbolize what she and the groom hope for. For example, orange blossoms symbolize wealth and fertility; red tulips represent real love; and lily of the valley represents a renewal of happiness.
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