Paris is the city of elaborate pastries and sweets, so when Easter comes around, you'll find chocolate sculpted into eggs, bells, hens, and fish adorning the storefront of every chocolatier and patisserie. Around this time, the City of Lights comes to life with colorful spring blooms and holiday activities such as egg hunting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Whether you're celebrating Easter with decadent sweets, an upscale dinner, or a vigil in one of Paris' grand cathedrals, you should find plenty to entertain you despite the fact that many shops and restaurants will be closed.
Chocolate and Sweets
Easter and chocolate go together like Christmas and fruitcake. Luckily, Paris harbors some of the finest chocolate makers in the world and Easter is the prime opportunity for these artisans to show off their talents. Because there is no Easter Bunny in France, the seasonal treats are traditionally shaped into flying bells from Rome. Check out Fauchon (Metro Madeleine) or Patrick Roger's boutique on Boulevard Saint-Germain for particularly spectacular chocolate Easter eggs, chickens, and bells, If you're on a tighter budget, supermarket chains like Monoprix are often bursting with reasonably priced yet still unique Easter-themed chocolate and sweets.
Dining Out on Easter
Many eateries close up shop on Easter Sunday and the Monday after, which is also a public holiday in France. However, those that do stay open are sure to be serving up special meals (particularly lunches and brunches on the Monday after Easter). Be sure to make reservations ahead of time and check opening times, menus, and prices.
- Au Petit Tonneau: This cozy traditional French bistro headed by Chef Vincent Neveu is well-revered by locals for its annual Easter lunch menu. Seasonal dishes focus on classic French fare such as Blanquette of veal and duck leg with honey sauce.
- Le First: The Westin Hotel's bright and airy restaurant moves to the ornate Imperial Dining Room for Easter Brunch. You'll feel like royalty as you wash traditional Easter foods down with a glass of bubbly.
- Eggs&Co: This is a concept restaurant—formerly known as Coco&Co.—where eggs are the stars of the menu. Eggs&Co. is a cozy little place (don't worry: The lack of space adds to its authenticity) that offers egg-themed specials on Easter.
Religious Services on Easter Sunday
Notre Dame de Paris typically holds a Catholic service with Easter prayers and Gregorian chants, but it's been temporarily closed since a fire broke out beneath its roof in April 2019. Even for those who don't understand French, attending a service at this famous landmark is a memorable experience.
The American Church in Paris (Protestant/interdenominational) also frequently hosts Easter sermons in English. This church, a hub for the American expatriate community, is located near the Eiffel Tower.
Other Ideas for Celebrating Easter in Paris
Easter is one of the most kid-friendly holidays of the year, so why not take advantage of Paris' beautiful green spaces by organizing a mini Easter egg hunt in one of its parks or gardens? From the Jardin des Tuileries to the Jardin du Luxembourg, these vast parks make it easy to observe this Easter tradition, even away from home. Another idea is to have an Easter picnic. April temperatures in Paris tend to hover above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so as long as you bring a jacket, you can sit among the springtime blooms while you dine al fresco.
Take a Day Trip
Make like a true Parisian and use the long weekend to escape the city. Consider taking a day trip to the Palace of Versailles to admire its magnificent gardens, to Monet's House and Gardens in Giverny, or to Saint-Denis Cathedral Basilica and the Royal Necropolis. Even a whirlwind day exploring the beautiful castles and gardens of the Loire Valley is feasible, provided you leave early enough in the day or go with a guided tour.