Husband and I were recently discussing the future upbringing of le bébé when the topic of Easter came up. Even though we were both raised Catholic (and I somehow found myself at not one but two Jesuit institutions of higher learning, without even really knowing what a Jesuit was), we don’t celebrate any religious holidays by actually going to church. Or practice anything that might be considered a religion for that matter.
But we are sure glad the French people do! Because not only does that mean we get numerous obscure Catholic holidays off from work. It also means we get to profitez from the seriousness with which the French folks seem to take their Easter chocolate.
Now I was once a girl who could look upon a stack of Peeps, a few Cadbury eggs and a sad, foil wrapped milk chocolate bunny as a thing of true Easter beauty. But the Parisian chocolatiers have since showed me the error of my ways.
Look at that Easter bounty! I have to pass this window every time I leave my apartment. I’m scared you might find me one morning passed out inside, drooling chocolate amongst savagely half eaten bunny ears and truffles, like that guy in “Chocolat.” It’s that insane. And it’s not even one of the best ones I’ve seen.
I’m not totally up on my Pâques traditions, but I do know that the Easter Bunny n’existe pas ici. Nope. Those wonderful hand crafted chocolate works of art are delivered to good little boys and girls via a cloche volant. That’s a flying bell.
So a magical flying bell (or flock of them, I don’t know) drops those glorious treats from the sky, and somehow they don’t shatter on impact. Which is amazing, because if you look closely, they’re really more like intricate chocolate sculptures than mere candy.
As in the US, chocolate bunnies, chicks and eggs are very popular around this time. But the chocolatiers don’t stop there. It seems to be kind of a competition over who can make the coolest stuff out of chocolate. Dinosaurs, turtles, cows and other animals all make appearances. Fish (also known as the Poisson D’Avril) are really popular, as evidenced by that crazy flat looking sting ray thing, which I can only guess is a milk chocolate Dover sole.
So with all this in mind, Husband and I thought long and hard and decided that wherever we are in the world, and whatever we believe at the time, our little bébé will most definitely be getting an Easter basket. Preferably delivered direct from France by flying bells.
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La Cloche Volant
Pronunciation: lah clohsh voh-lahnt
Definition: The Flying Bell. France’s answer to the Easter Bunny
Le Poisson d’Avril
Pronunciation: luh pwah-ssohn dahvreel
Definition: Literally, the April Fish. Not technically an Easter thing, these start showing up on April Fool’s Day, when kids try to stick paper fish to people’s backs without them knowing.