A Very French Easter: Traditions & Things To Do

March 27, 2024
2023-09-29 17.01.16

A rabbit hopping from house to house, hiding colorful eggs and chocolate figurines of himself? Here in France, we would have none of this fantastic nonsense. Instead, we came up with an even crazier story. Here, the noble gift giver is… a bell.

Les Cloches de Pâques – the Easter Bells

No, there was nothing wrong with that coffee you had earlier, you read what you read: Les enfants believe in a bell – actually several bells – that sprout wings and fly to Rome on Good Friday to return two days later with chocolate gifts for them.

The tale is based on the fact that church bells are silent on Good Friday and Saturday as a sign of mourning for Jesus. Someone with a lot of imagination spun this into a story that the stillness of the bells meant that they had travelled to Rome to be blessed by the Pope, taken some sweets and returned on Sunday, ringing loudly to announce their homecoming.

Aside from the absence of the Easter bunny, it’s pretty much celebrated like any other Western country. Some people go to church, others have a big family brunch or lunch (which traditionally includes roast lamb), and before that they hunt for Easter eggs in the house or garden to find the chocolates that the, um, bells have hidden for them.

Colored Easter eggs.

What to do with your kiddos

Bad news for the locals, but great news for you: Good Friday is a normal working day, which means most shops and businesses are open. However, Easter Monday is a public holiday and many places are closed. If you’re visiting with the kids, consider taking part in an organized Easter egg hunt on Sunday or Monday, for example at the Hotel de la Marine or the Jardin d’Acclimatation.

Indulge in Easter chocolates

If you’re here sans children, there’s no reason to miss out on the Easter fun. Treat yourself to an edgy egg or cubic rabbit from Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse. The artful designs are probably too futuristic and the chocolate too intense to appeal to most children, but perfect for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life.

A chocolate bunny and lamb from the Easter collection at Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse in Paris.

Check maps for your nearest location. This is the most central one:

Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse
11 Rue des Petits Champs
1st arrondissement
Métro: Bourse (3)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-8pm

And if you need help finding things to do over the holidays or want to make your Easter trip extra special, we want to hear from you! Just fill out our form, tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll make recommendations just for you.