Good Friday falls early, at the end of March, this year, so many holiday makers have reservations about finding a warm, sunny Easter break. March on the Cote d’Azur however, is characterised by clear, blue skies and sunny temperatures that make it very pleasant to enjoy coffee or lunch outdoors.
Easter, or ‘Pâques’ in French, is widely celebrated in France. Alongside religious celebrations, Easter in France is a time for families, food and welcoming the beginning of spring. If you’re planning on spending this Easter in the Cote d’Azur sunshine, here’s a little taste of what to expect.
The French Riviera is generally bustling with character all year round and, though Easter weekend marks the beginning of the high season, March is still a great time of year to visit, before the tourist attractions become more popular. The Easter sun is very comfortable to sit out in, though the sea is a little chilly still, some people do enjoy a quick dip. There are a variety of walking tours and bike tours to be found in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and other popular Riviera towns. This is a beautiful way to explore the Cote d’Azur under cloudless skies, without the heat of mid-summer.
If you are staying in France over the Easter weekend, don’t expect to hear any church bells until Easter Sunday. Bells all over the country ring out the day before Good Friday due to ‘les cloche volant’ or ‘the flying bells’. French children are told that the bells fly to Rome to visit the Pope, when the bells return on Sunday, the bells drop chocolate eggs and treats for children to find in Easter egg hunts, or ‘la chasse aux oeufs’. During your stay, you will find Easter egg hunts all over the France Riviera, many are run by farms, shops museums or other tourist attractions and are free for children to take part in.
Many visitors are surprised to discover that Good Friday is not a French Bank Holiday, so the vast majority of shops and attractions are open. During a quick stroll around towns like Nice, Cannes or Antibes, you will be sure to find plenty of beautifully decorated shop displays, with many featuring chocolate eggs, rabbits, chickens, bells and fish. Each chocolate looks just as beautiful as it tastes – it’s almost a shame to unwrap and eat them – almost!
Though Easter Sunday is a religious holiday, many shops close on Sundays anyway, bars and restaurants are still open, but book in advance, as venues will be bustling with tourists and locals alike, all celebrating with delicious food and wine. A traditional, French, Easter Sunday meal is lamb, which is a religious symbol, as well as a symbol of the new life of spring.
Bruce International are a Cote d’Azur property specialist based in Roquefort-les-Pins in the South of France who offer a range of services including property viewings, purchase assistance and even project and event management! For further information about Bruce International and their wealth of experience in the property sector, please have a look at our property services.