Sale of lily of the valley on May 1: the rules to follow

Exceptionally on May 1, you can sell lily of the valley on the public highway. But beware of imprudence, rules are enacted and anyone who does not respect them is liable to a fine of 3750 euros.

On May 1, which is a holiday, individuals paradoxically have the right to work for themselves, without special authorization, by selling sprigs of lily of the valley. The sale of this lucky flower – and only this one – is tolerated “on an exceptional basis in accordance with a long tradition“, specifies the General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF). A story that begins in the Renaissance – Charles IX had offered sprigs of it as a lucky charm – and gained momentum at the beginning of the 20th century, when the flower was associated with Labor Day and became popular from Nantes.

However, the sale of lily of the valley is not done without rules, which the Ministry of the Interior recalls every year. In 2018, the national gendarmerie recalled on Twitter the rules in this area, by referring to a page on the ministry’s site: “While any street sale is in principle subject to authorization, the sale of lily of the valley on May 1 is an exception. It is nevertheless common for the municipality to regulate this practice.“. Day vendors must only sell wild lily of the valley picked in the forest, in small quantities and without using a table so as not to be confused with a real trader, while taking care not to obstruct pedestrians and vehicles.

There is therefore no question of reselling flowers purchased at Rungis, this is reserved for professionals. It is also strictly forbidden to add any element to the strand, it must not be wrapped or accommodated with another flower. In short, nofloral artshould only be exercised by May 1st sellers. Here too it is a question of avoiding walking on the flowerbeds of the florists, which should not be approached (between 40 and 200 meters depending on the municipality). An individual who does not comply with the regulations in force is liable to a fine of 300 euros, a lump sum which can be reduced to 250 euros and increased to 600 euros. If he does not pay within 45 days following the date of sending the notice of violation or the finding of this violation, the note is higher: 3750 euros fine and six months imprisonment.

According to a Kantar study, published in July 2021, during sales on May 1, florists concentrate 41% of expenses relating to lily of the valley, compared to 23% in mass distribution, 10% in markets, 9% in specialized garden centres, 6 % on public roads, 2% on operations and 9% for other establishments such as DIY stores or discount stores.


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