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 Spring in Paris - Easter in France

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Easter in Paris and France
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Long-range weather outlook for Spring 2017 in France:

Warmer than usual in April and May

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PARIS in the SPRING

Paris in the SpringThe great thing about Paris in the Spring is that Spring comes early to Paris! Around Easter time, while the buds are still struggling to open in much of rural France, even in areas far to the south of Paris, the green is bursting open all over Paris, in the parks, on the tree-lined boulevards, on balconies and terraces. So it's hardly surprising that "Paris in the spring" is something of a cliché. After the cold months of winter, the Easter holiday period is a great time to visit the French capital.

Paris bouquiniste
Traditional book and print seller beside the Seine
Good Friday - the Friday before Easter - is not a public holiday in France, so it's a day for business as usual in shops, museums and restaurants – though perhaps a bit less busy than on a normal Friday, since many Parisians take a long weekend and head off to the country for this first holiday weekend of the year. The official holiday is on Easter Monday which, in France as throughout Europe, is a public holiday.
Easter week is not necessarily a school holiday week; French spring school holidays do not necessarily include the Easter week or Easter weekend, it depends on the region and on when Easter falls. Easter Monday being a public holiday, many shops and public monuments such as Museums will be closed; but the Louvre is open on Easter Monday, as on Easter Sunday - though beware of the crowds on these days. Check here for other Paris tourist attractions.

EASTER TRADITIONS IN FRANCE


Easter hen and eggsAs throughout Europe, Easter in France rhymes with Easter Eggs. But Easter Eggs in France are just one among many other options as far as Easter gifts are concerned. The essential common ingredient, however, is chocolate. While supermarkets of course sell industirally produced Easter eggs and other tokens, many French people will prefer to get their Easter Eggs, chocolate Easter Bunnies, Easter Hens, Easter Bells or "friture" from a local bakery, patisserie, or - for the top quality - a local "chocolatier". And generally speaking it's worth the little (or sometimes considerable) extra cost.
Local bakers, patissiers and chocolatiers pride themselves on making good-quality Easter chocolates, often individually decorated and presented with loving care. Eggs, bunnies and other chocolate animals come either "garnis" or "non-garnis" , meaning filled or unfilled. Filled versions usually contain small chocolates, or small sugary eggs - and often a mixture of the two.
"Friture", that other Easter tradition, are little chocolate fish - which historically have more to do with April Fool's Day than Easter (An April Fool joke in France is called "un poisson d'avril", an April fish); but the two events being almost simultaneous, the distinction has been forgotten.
Easter is traditionally a family celebration in France, and an excuse for a good family Sunday lunch, for which the traditional meat is roast lamb. For children, a traditional Easter pastime is hunting in the garden (or even in the apartment) for hidden chocolate eggs that according to tradition have been brought back overnight from Rome by the "Easter bells"; church bells in France traditionally remain silent from Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday.

Photo top: Paris, Buttes Chaumont. Photo by Marius Lemarie - Licence GNU
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