Forget the Easter Bunny—French Easter traditions delight people from the sky to the sea!

Easter is a significant Christian holiday for many throughout France and is celebrated with such things as delicious, intricately molded chocolates, roast leg of lamb and the below traditions unique to this region.

France’s Flying Bells

The glorious sound of Easter bells can be heard throughout the world. But in France, Easter bells do more than just ring. In fact, the Thursday before Easter, les cloches de Pâques (Easter bells) across the country are silenced as the tolling objects are said to take flight on a journey to Rome. When in Rome, the bells receive a special blessing from the Pope, then flutter their nonexistent wings back to France—but not without first picking up some eggs along the way.

Back in France, the bells deliver the eggs to children, much to their delight, and return to their towers to ring on Easter Sunday, marking Christ’s Resurrection. They may not be furry, white or cotton-tailed, but the image of thousands of bells soaring across the sky is downright beautiful.

Normandy Seafood Stew (La Marmite Dieppoise)

With 600 km of coastline, Normandy has an abundance of fresh seafood. Legend has it that a woman known only as Mrs. Maurice owned a tavern for sailors in the city of Dieppe called “La Marmite Dieppoise.” Mrs. Maurice was renowned for her incredible fish stews made with the day’s catch, as well as shrimp and mussels. Her legendary dishes were named after the restaurant and the rest is history.

Eating fish rather than meat on Good Friday is a longstanding tradition for many. And with great swaths of the world still battling late winters, what better way to celebrate Easter than with a heartwarming bowl of seafood stew?



  • 500 g (1 lb.) mussels , cleaned andde-bearded
  • 300 ml (1 ¼ cup) cider or white wine
  • large knob of butter
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 100 g (¬ cup) baby button mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 150 ml (5 oz.) crème fraîche
  • 4 white fish filets (with skin on)
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Makes 4 servings.