You'll know Easter in Paris is near when chocolatiers display festive chocolate bunnies and candy eggs, pâtisseries fill their shelves with elaborately decorated cakes, and florists perfume nearby streets with the sweet scent of Easter lilies.
In 2018, Easter takes place on Sunday, April 1. The Monday following Easter - April 2 this year - is a public holiday, so you should expect many shops and restaurants to be closed. The metro and city buses will run but on a somewhat limited holiday schedule.
If you're visiting Paris on Easter weekend, you'll find plenty of things to do. Favorite Paris Easter activities include religious services in the city's magnificent churches, special Easter concerts in spectacular settings such as Sainte Chapelle's stained glass chapel, and of course Easter egg hunts in the most beautiful Paris parks, chic neighborhoods, and breathtaking venues.
And don't forget all those chocolate rabbits and other confections - it's the perfect time to conduct your own tasting tour of Parisian chocolate makers and pick your favorite!
The 3-day Easter weekend gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy the beginning of spring weather in Paris - go for a picnic in a park, a cruise down the Seine, or even a museum.
Here are our best tips on how to celebrate Easter in Paris.
Easter egg hunts and other Easter activities for children take place all over Paris in parks and other special venues. Look for chocolate eggs from famous Paris chocolate makers, confections from top pastry chefs, games, and other activities to celebrate the beginning of spring in some of the city's most beautiful places.
Here's the 2018 schedule of Paris Easter Egg Hunts in interesting (and a couple of unusual) locations:
Parc André Citroën (2 rue Cauchy, 15th arr, Metro: Javel) - Hunt for 40,000 hidden chocolate eggs and enjoy games. For 3-10 year olds.
Dates: April 1 and 2, 10am-5pm
Jardin des Champs Élysées (Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 8th arr, Metro: Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau) - Join the hunt for exceptional eggs by top Paris patisserie chefs, and join in games and other activities. Space is limited, so to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates: March 28; 3:30pm-5:30pm
Renoir Gardens at Musée de Montmartre (12 rue Cortot, 18th arr, Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt) - The goal is to find 5 eggs of the same color during the Chasse aux Oeufs (egg hunt) in the museum's charming garden and trade them for delicious chocolates. For children 2-12; must be accompanied by an adult, and must preregister by phone or email: 01 49 25 89 41, or email@example.com - please specify name and age of each child, number of accompanying persons, date and approximate time of arrival.
Dates: April 1 and 2; 11:30am-5pm
Cost: Free for children 2-12; adults 12€
Grande Arche Rooftop (1 parvis de la Défense, take Metro Line 1 or RER A to La Défense Grande Arche) - The newly reopened rooftop will be transformed into a farm for Easter weekend where you and your little ones can pet and feed donkeys, rabbits, chickens, and baby goats. Kids can take part in a daily Easter Egg Hunt.
Dates: March 31, April 1 and 2; 10am-5pm
Cost: Adults 12€ and Child (2-12) 7€, under 2 years free, plus 5€ egg hunting fee
More information: https://www.lagrandearche.fr/actualites/toit-de-grande-arche-se-transforme-ferme
Jardin du Palais Royal (8 rue Montpensier, 1st arr, Metro: Palais Royal/Palais du Louvre) - Search for yummy eggs created by a famous Paris chocolate shop hidden in the beautiful garden near the the black and white columns designed by artist Daniel Buren in this special place dating back to 1633.
Dates: March 28; 3:30pm-5:30pm
Special Easter concerts take place in several beautiful Paris churches and chapels - a memorable experience. To ensure your place, get your tickets early as they usually sell out in advance.
Special Easter Concert Schedule for 2018
- Easter Concerts at La Sainte-Chapelle - April 1 (also March 30, 31) - Tickets
- Ascension Concert - Saint-Germain des Près Church - April 2 - Tickets
- Ave Maria and Adagios: Easter Concert - La Madeleine Church - April 2 - Tickets
Easter inspires Paris chocolatiers to fill their windows with beautiful Easter eggs, rabbits, and other creatures almost too beautiful to eat - but of course you must! Here are locations for just a small sample of the most famous chocolate shops:
- Jean-Paul Hévin - Superb traditional chocolates and macaroons; don't miss the tearoom upstairs! - 231 Rue Saint Honoré, 1st arrondissement; Metro: Tuileries
- Joséphine Vannier - Artisan chocolate maker in the Marais, known for her elaborate chocolate Easter eggs; you should also try the gourmet ice cream - 4 Rue du Pas de la Mule, 3rd arr, Metro: Bastille
- Pierre Marcolini - Flavors change with the seasons, but are always wonderful - 89 Rue de Seine, 6th arr; Metro: Mabillon
- Fauchon - Their intricate Easter eggs could double as works of art; treat yourself in the tearoom while you're there - 30 Place de la Madeleine, 8th arr, Metro: Madeleine
- Pierre Hermé - Better known for his famous macaroons, but his chocolates are also mouth-watering - 72 Rue Bonaparte, 6th arr, Metro: Saint Sulpice; many other locations
- Chocolats Richart - Intricately decorated ganache with amazing flavors - 258 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 7th arr.; Metro: Solférino
- La Maison du Chocolat - A global brand that began in Paris, and justly famous - 225 Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th arr, Metro: Ternes; several other Paris locations
- Jeff de Bruges - Founded in Belgium by a Frenchman who combines the secrets of famous Belgian chocolates; look for shops in almost every Paris neighborhood - Shown in the photo above: 297 Rue de Vaugirard, 15th arr, Metro: Vaugirard
Go on a Paris Chocolate Tour
Combine sightseeing with a gourmet meal on these fun dinner cruises and tours:
- Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Dinner Cruise - You'll enjoy a memorable evening as you float past the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame aboard a luxury river cruise boat. Customize your experience on this popular gourmet dinner cruise by choosing departure time, number of courses, beverages, and more. Cruises with 8:30 departures offer Champagne and live music. Reserve now
- Marina de Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise and Moulin Rouge Show - Combine two famous Paris experiences when you enjoy a delicious 3-course dinner on a glamorous glass-enclosed boat as you glide down the Seine river past the Eiffel Tower and other top attractions. When the cruise ends, you'll be driven up to the Montmartre neighborhood to the famous Moulin Rouge caberet, where you'll watch the fabulous "Feerie" show featuring 60 cancan dancers while you sip Champagne. Pickup and drop off at your hotel are included. Reserve now
- Luxury Paris Double-Decker Bus Dining & Sightseeing Experience - Fun, gourmet dining, excellent service, and panoramic views of top Paris attractions such as Champs-Élysées, Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral await you on this unique experience aboard a luxury double-decker bus. Reserve a 4-course lunch or 6-course dinner.
- Versailles Palace and Gardens Guided Tour with Gourmet Lunch by Chef Ducasse - This guided tour from Paris to Versailles by train lets you skip the line (except for a security check) at Versailles, where you'll visit the Hall of Mirrors and other top attractions, stroll through the gardens, enjoy the Musical Fountain Show, and then savor a 3-course gourmet lunch by renowned Chef Alain Ducasse. Upgrade your tour, if you wish, to include Marie Antoinette's retreat, Petit Trianon. Reserve now
Want to attend Easter church services in Paris? You'll find lots of wonderful options throughout the city, including six churches offering Easter services in English.
Please check websites for Easter service schedules, in case of any last-minute changes.
Easter Services in English
- American Cathedral (23 Avenue George V, 8th arr, Metro: Alma Marceau) - Episcopal church with numerous Holy Week and Easter services. The 11am Easter service is a Festival Eucharist with a choir and brass, followed by an Easter egg hunt. Website
- St Michael's Church (5 rue d'Aguesseau, 8th arr; Metro: Madeleine) - Anglican church serving a diverse community. Holy Week and Easter services in English and in Tamil. Website
- St Joseph's Catholic Church (50 Avenue Hoche, 8th arr, Metro: Étoile) - The only English-speaking Catholic church in Paris. Multiple Holy Week and Easter services. Their website is under construction but you can find up-to-date information about services on their Facebook page.
- American Church (65 quai d'Orsay, 7th arr, Metro: Invalides) - Inter-denominational Protestant church. Easter services include a Good Friday service, Easter Sunday sunrise service on the quai overlooking the Seine River, two traditional services, and a contemporary service. Don't miss the two Tiffany stained glass windows toward the back of the church - the only Tiffany windows in a French church. Docent tours of the church are offered each Sunday (except for the first Sunday of each month) and at other times during the week. Website
- Trinity International Church of Paris (58 Rue Madame, 6th arr, Metro: Rennes) - Christian church offering sermons in English with French subtitles. Website
- The Scots Kirk (17 Rue Bayard, 8th arr, Metro: Franklin D. Roosevelt) - The only Church of Scotland in France, as well as the only English-speaking Presbyterian church in France. All nationalities are welcome! Palm Sunday and Easter services. The Scots Kirk also hosts 2-3 concerts each month. Website
Easter Services in French
If you want to attend Easter services in Paris in French (you don't have to understand every word to have a meaningful experience), these famous churches offer Catholic services on Good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday:
- Cathédral Notre Dame de Paris (6 parvis Notre-Dame, 4th arrondissement, Metro: Cité) - Considered a Gothic masterpiece, Notre Dame dates back to the 12th century. Masses take place throughout the day, with a Gregorian Mass at 10am on Easter (and every Sunday). Website
- Sacre Coeur Basilica - (35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 18th arr, Metro: Abbesses or Anvers plus take the Funicular up the hill) - Sacre Coeur's beautiful white limestone facade atop a Montmartre hill can be seen across the city, and Paris views from the top are just as spectacular. Choose from multiple masses throughout Holy Week, Easter, and Easter Monday. Website
- Saint Sulpice (2 Rue Palatine; 6th arr; Metro: Saint Sulpice) - Numerous masses throughout Holy Week, Easter, and Easter Monday. Saint Sulpice is the second largest church in Paris, and one of the most compelling (you may remember it from international best seller and movie, The Da Vinci Code). Music lovers will not want to miss the world-renowned Cavaillé-Coll organ, which you can hear every Sunday at 10:45am as a prelude to High Mass at 11am, and then again after the mass at 12 noon for a longer period. The church offers tours in English on the first Sunday of each month at 12:30pm (after the organ concert); this schedule may vary on holy days such as Easter. Website
- Église Saint Eustache (146 Rue Rambuteau, 1st arrondissement, Metro: Les Halles) - Magnificent cathedral-like church, located in the Les Halles area - breathtaking Gothic architecture on the outside, a Renaissance interior, and a renowned organ, the largest in France. In addition to the services, don't miss the organ concert at 5:30pm on Easter Sunday (and every Sunday - a centuries-old tradition). Website
Even though many Paris shops and restaurants will be closed on both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, a number of famous Paris museums and monuments will be open. Here is a small sample:
- Centre Pompidou (National Museum of Modern Art) - Place Georges Pompidou, 4th arr; Metro: Hôtel de Ville
- Choco-Story Paris - Gourmet chocolate museum - 28 Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, 10th arr; Metro Bonne Nouvelle - Get Tickets
- Guimet Museum of Asian Arts - 6 Place de Jena, 16th arr; Metro: Jena
- Grevin Paris Wax Museum - 10 Boulevard Montmartre, 9th arr; Metro Bourse
- Louvre Museum - 1st arr; Metro: Palais Royal
Paris parks including Bois de Boulogne (16th arr) and Bois de Vincennes/Paris Zoo (12th arr) are open. Pick a park, bring a picnic lunch and bottle of wine (many neighborhood bakeries and small produce stores will be open, although perhaps in the morning only), and spend the day relaxing and enjoying spring weather.