Easter in France is a long weekend that French people always look forward to. As is the way here, the pleasure mainly revolves around a good time with friends and family, food, drink and relaxation. Easter egg hunts with the kids happen pretty much everywhere – with the belief that the eggs are dropped by flying bells.
Here is our low-down on how to celebrate Easter in France and the many foodie delights it involves…
As with many countries, in France at Easter you will find a profusion of little chocolates with the shape of Easter symbols like bells, rabbits, eggs, chickens and even fish. French chocolatiers also use the opportunity to create oversized, beautifully decorated chocolate eggs. The “chocolateries” and pastry shops are always a delight to visit at this time, with the treats they create being a sensory overload – they look beautiful, smell delicious and taste divine! There are many many beautiful chocolateries across the whole country, with even very small villages often having fine handmade products available, particularly at this time of year.
Chocolate eggs hunts
On Easter Sunday morning, French kids will go on an Easter eggs hunt, looking for chocolates hidden in the garden – the tradition says that it is flying bells that drop treats on their way back from Rome, where they had been to meet the Pope.
Many towns and cities or even monuments now organise giant “chasses aux oeufs” (egg hunts) for the kids. One of the most famous egg hunts in France takes place in the Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte near Paris.
Traditional meal and pastries
Of course, Easter in France involves some delicious traditional food. On Easter Sunday, people will go and see their family and friends to celebrate Easter around a good (and lengthy) meal. The traditional main course is “gigot d’agneau et flageolets” (roast lamb with spring beans) while dessert is usually a “nid de pâques”, a nest-shaped pastry made only during this period and decorated with bird figurines.
There are also some local pastries made only for Easter, such as Charente “cornuelles”, made of puff pastry filled with Chantilly cream in the shape of a triangle.
Easter in France is always a highly expected, long weekend with a day off for Easter Monday (“Lundi de Pâques”) and kids’ holidays are often organised to include this weekend. Unlike in other countries, the Friday before the weekend is not a bank holiday.
Pâques = Easter
Les cloches de Pâques = Easter bells
Les œufs en chocolat = chocolate eggs
La chasse aux œufs = eggs hunt
Le lundi de Pâques = Easter Monday
Les vacances de Pâques = Easter holidays
Joyeuses Pâques !