Who Brings the Easter Eggs in France? (French Culture Lesson)

Who delivers the Easter eggs to children in France?

C’est pas moi !” dit le lapin.
(“It’s not me!”, the rabbit says.)

Is it la girafe (= the giraffe) ?
Is it le poulpe (= the squid) ?
Is it l’ours (= the bear) ?

…This is what we’ll see today, in this lesson on French culture and traditions.

Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson

  1. Beginner: Know how to say “Easter” in French, and learn who brings Easter eggs to French children
  2. Intermediate: Learn some animal names in French
  3. Advanced: Learn more French Easter vocabulary

Bonjour I’m Géraldine, your French teacher.
Welcome to Comme une Française!
I’m here to help you get better at speaking and understanding everyday French — anytime, anywhere.

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1) Pâques

It’s Easter in France! We call it Pâques (with un accent circonflexe, the “triangle hat” on top of the A.) And with a silent “s” at the end!
La Pâque (without the “s”) is the Jewish holiday Passover.

On Easter weekend, families gather together to eat some lamb: l’agneau pascal (= the Easter lamb), which is a young un mouton (= a sheep.) Watch the video lesson to see this French tradition in the picture book for children.

L’accent circonflexe in French is often a way to show that there used to be an “s” in the spelling of the word, but that it got removed by historical changes in the language.

This hidden “s” can appear in other forms of the word, though! Such as when we use Pâques as an adjective: Pâques → Pascal (Easter → “of Easter”).

So Pascal is both the adjective for “Easter”… and a common French first name!
For example:
Bon week end pascal, Pascal ! = Have a good Easter weekend, Pascal!

2) Les œufs de Pâques

Traditionally, children go on une chasse aux œufs (= an egg hunt) on Easter.

The eggs used to be chicken’s eggs, but now it’s more often un oeuf en chocolat (= a chocolate egg.) Miam ! (= Yummy!)

These chocolate eggs are usually hidden in the gardens. Here in Grenoble, where I live, there’s even a hunt in the mountain, organised by the mayor.

Œ is a strange letter, isn’t it? It’s called “e dans l’o” (= “e in the o”) and most of the time, it sounds like “eu” (as in une heure = an hour). You’ll probably only ever encounter that strange letter in three other words:

  • un bœuf (= an ox),
  • un cœur (= a heart),
  • une sœur (= a sister).

3) Who delivers the Easter eggs in France?

As we’ve seen, it’s not le lapin (= the bunny.)
So, who delivers the Easter eggs then?

Well, it’s not la girafe (= the giraffe), l’ours (= the bear), or le lama (= the llama) either, believe it or not!

Some people pretend it’s nice parents and loving grandparents who bring (and hide) the chocolate eggs for the children to find. …But they also say the same thing of Le Père Noël (= Santa Claus), so we shouldn’t trust these people.

The truth is: in France, eggs come from les cloches (= bells.)

As the story goes, it’s the bells from the churches in Rome, who fly all the way to your garden in France to drop chocolat eggs. They want to share the joy of the Resurrection of Jesus, which Christians celebrate on Easter.

So there’s no Easter rabbit.

Sorry, bunny!
(“Ooooh…”)

And do you know who ELSE doesn’t work in France? The Tooth Fairy! I’ll tell you who collects children’s teeth in France instead, in this video lesson on La Petite Souris.

Joyeuses Pâques (= Happy Easter) !

À tout de suite.
See you in the next video!

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Allez, salut 🙂

Géraldine

Join the conversation!

  • Merci beaucoup pour la lecon, Geraldine! (sorry, I don’t know how to make all the French letters dans mon ordinateur)

  • Thanks a lot for this Easter lesson. Les cloches volants; I think the tradition in France originated thus (ainsi): On the Friday of Easter, traditionally the bells which are rung every day, go silent and are only rung anew on Easter Sunday to mark the resurrection of Jesus. To explain this to children, parents say the bells have gone to Rome on Friday. On Sunday they return from Rome to France and drop Easter chocolates for the children along the way – eggs, rabbits, chickens etc- or maybe just chocolate eggs. This is a tradition in the north or the south – not sure which- but not both. Gwendoline in Australia.

  • Je suis absolument écrasé en entendre cette nouvelle ! Pas vraiment. Comme les lapins sont souvent trouvé sur le table dîner en France, c’est une très bonne idée pour avoir un conte alternatif. Tu sais, pour garder contre terroriser des jeunes enfants français. 🙂

  • Très interéssant Géraldine, ce que tu nous as dit
    par rapport à Pâques et Pâque. Je ne le savais pas.
    Génial 😀

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