Any given day in Paris is filled with rich foods and decadent desserts. Macarons, crepes, croissants, and chocolates seem to fill every shop window, and during Easter, all of the displays are filled with colorful chocolate Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and of course Easter Bunnies.
While celebrating Easter in Paris last weekend, Tony and I knew we had to indulge and were excited to do so on sweets like these:
Easter Mass at Notre Dame
Our day started with a little less sugar on the plaza outside of Notre Dame. At 8:15AM, the birds were chirping and we were joined by only a few others (compared to the hundred filling the plaza only 90 minutes later). The bells started to chime...
...and 10 seconds later they stopped.
“Wait a minute,” I said to Tony, “That can’t be it, right?” He shrugged and said he didn’t think so. There is no way I got out of bed at 7AM the morning daylight savings time forced us to “Spring Forward” for that…
Then it began.
Gong. Gong. Gong. Emmanuel was ringing. Up in Notre Dame’s bell towers among the other smaller bells is Emmanuel, a 13 ton behemoth that is rung only a few times a year. The bell is so big that its vibrations ring through the whole Notre Dame structure and for preservation reasons are reserved for only the most special Catholic holidays and National events.
As Emmanuel continued his song, we headed into Notre Dame for the early bird French Mass. International mass (which is in English) is at 11:30, but we had places to be and things to eat...
Easter Brunch in Paris
Now, in my book, Easter isn’t complete without an Easter brunch and lucky for me, Paris has been stepping up its brunch game in recent years. We debated about going to Le Bal Cafe, Eggs and Co., and La Chambre aux Oiseau, but settled on Holybelly. Their seating policy is first come first serve, so we arrived a few minutes before their opening time of 10AM in hopes of snagging one of their 49 seats.
We made it! And we were very glad we did.
An Affogato? Yes, please.
Here's what their “waiting area” looked like as we traipsed off at 11:30AM.
Easter Montmartre Explorations
The remainder of our Easter afternoon was spent soaking up the gorgeous city views from the hilltop of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart as well as a drive by viewing of the Mulin Rouge in the Montmartre district (a highly recommended neighborhood for wandering - it's filled with boutiques, artwork, and plenty of cafes).
Parisian Easter Egg Hunts
Though they sounded like a ton of fun, we weren't able to make the city's Easter egg hunts. The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, 30 miles southeast of Paris, hosts a hunt of epic proportions where the Belgian chocolate company Leonidas hides over 85,000 chocolate eggs among its garden. And right in front of the Eiffel Tower there's an Easter egg hunt and celebration perfect for families with kids.
Have you ever celebrated familiar holidays abroad? What did you enjoy most?
P.S. Heading to Paris for Easter was a bit of an unknown for us since we know that in Barcelona most of the city shuts down. We were pleasantly surprised to find that most restaurants, shops, and activities operated on normal schedules throughout the weekend. It was more crowded than your typical early spring weekend in Paris, but it was absolutely worth it!