How to make the most of an April Vacation in Paris
Whether travelling as a family, or alone, there's plenty to see and do in Paris in April
You’ve never known the charm of spring until spending an April in Paris.
Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan sang it best in their versions of Vernon Duke’s April in Paris. You might be wondering the difference between Paris in April and London. In spite of the similar weather - light rain, misty skies, hints of dew on the early-morning grass - these two cities, not very far apart, couldn’t have more different vibes.
When you’re packing to head to Paris in April, it’s wise to pack for cooler weather, then add your sunglasses and lotion in at the last minute. It’s also wise to be mindful that there’s a plentiful amount of people who decide that April is a great time to visit.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot for you to do in the glorious streets of the City of Lights during the spring, as well as ample and varied opportunities to escape the crowds.
Easter in Paris: The Lowdown
April is a fab time of year to hit up Paris with your kids. Not that us adults can’t enjoy our fair share of chocolate, but it’s fun letting them do all the work when it comes to egg hunts. There are loads of these that happen in parks all over Paris and how gorgeous parks become in spring makes you wonder if the Easter Bunny (or Jesus) planned the holiday accordingly.
Some of the egg-cellent (look, we’re not the first to use it and we won’t be the last) egg hunts that go on in April are overlooked for bigger ones. That’s a good thing if you’d prefer your little ones spent the time with local children.
Here are a few recommended Easter Egg hunts and activities in Paris:
- Parc André Citroën: Tens of thousands of eggs are stashed away to be found by eager kids (and their minders) who can then attend the activities village - full of workshops, dancing, and other festivities.
- Jardin du Palais Royal: Kids are invited to come along to find delicious chocolate eggs from Paris’s oldest sweet shop, À la Mère de Famille. Loads of activities and games are thrown in for this special event in a beautiful setting (where mum, dad, or grandparents can get a nice coffee.)
TRÈS BON BON BONS
It goes without saying that À la Mère de Famille’s original shop in Montmartre is worth a visit alone. There are over a thousand different sweets and treats to choose from.
- Jardin des Champs-Élysées: For the last couple of years, the committee of Faubourg Saint-Honoré has held an exclusive Easter Egg hunt. With eggs made by expert patisserie chefs and other fun activities like races and workshops, kids simply love it. Spaces are limited, so be sure to check the website to see when the next hunt will be held.
- Parc Zoologique de Paris: Kids can spend time hunting chocolate eggs alongside real birds and reptiles, learning how real eggs are produced. This egg hunt is definitely the most unique in Paris.
- Musée de Montmartre: Staying true to its artistic self, the Musée de Montmartre offers kids a tour of the museum followed by artistic workshops where kids can let their imaginations run wild. Let the wild rumpus start! Or should we say the wild Easter Egg decoration start? Either way, it gives mum and dad more of an excuse to see the Jardins Renoir.
Because we are huge proponents of kids not getting to have all the fun, we’ve compiled a list of the best chocolatiers and patisseries around town. Chocolate is delicious - and there aren't many cities do it better than Paris.
- Angelina: Opened in 1903, tearoom Angelina under the arcades of rue de Rivoli, is a Paris staple. (226 RUE DE RIVOLI)
- Un Dimanche à Paris: Concept store with a twist, grown-ups who like their chocolate unique should put this restaurant-cum-shop-cum-chocolatier-cum… (you get the idea) on their to-do list. Remember when you go: Paris in April is still a fine time to have some hot chocolate. (4-6-8 COURS DU COMMERCE SAINT-ANDRÉ)
- Galeries Lafayette: The upper levels of this department store has a fantastic selection of chocolates all year round. (BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN)
- Pierre Hermé: World-renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé was nicknamed the Picasso of Pastry by Vogue. Lucky for us chocolate lovers, he has 14 stores around Paris. (39 AVENUE L’OPERA)
Hungry for Easter Brunch?
Paris takes its chocolate seriously, and because of it, Easter is a fine time to dine at one of the fancy luxury hotels that are usually reserved for the elite. Here’s a few to save you some time. (I mean, who doesn’t want to spend less time searching and more time indulging?)
- The traditional Grand Brunch du Ritz (in the Ritz, obviously) is flipped on its head to be a gourmet chocolate feast for the ages. (15 PLACE VENDÔME)
- The Peninsula Hotel holds an Easter Egg hunt for the kids and a delicious brunch in an atmosphere rivaling Paris of the 20s. (19 AVENUE KLÉBER, 75116)
- Café de la Paix honours the world of chocolate and beyond with their Grand Easter Brunch. (5 PLACE D’OPERA)
Be sure to keep those tummies empty in advance.
Chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies aren’t the only things prevalent to the season. Sure, April delivers the beginning of the crowds and a little bit of rain, but there are events across the board for everyone.
From sporting events to huge fairs - Paris in April’s got it all.
- Paris’s gorgeous churches will be in session over the religious holiday. Services will run throughout Easter weekend and whether you’re of faith or not, this is a beautiful time to go.
- The Salon du Running trade show is the biggest fair dedicated to a single sport in the whole of France. Pop along to the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (MÉTRO: PORTE DE VERSAILLES ⓬) and see what’s on offer.
- Speaking of such extravagant surroundings - April is a fantastic time to visit the Chateau de Versailles.
GET TO VERSAILLES.
Getting to Versailles from Paris could not be simpler. Just hop on the RER (Réseau Express Régional) and take Line C to Versailles-Rive Gauche. Simple.
- Vintage car lovers can head to the Grand Palais to see the vehicles chosen to be in the next edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000
- Families get ready, the Foire du Trône takes over the Pelouse de Reuilly (MÉTRO: LIBERTÉ ❽) in the Bois de Vincennes from the end of March through to May. This is the oldest traditional funfair in France, and the word funfair does well in summing up the event.
- Art aficionados have a few choice events in April. The first is the Art Paris Art Fair in the Grand Palais where galleries from 20 countries exhibit some of their finest pieces. Second of these is for the contemporary art enthusiasts who should go along to the Grand Marché d’art contemporain on Place de la Bastille.
- A festival of contemporary art, dance, circus, and theatre, 100% in La Villette (MÉTRO: PORTE DE PANTIN ❺) complex is an utter must-see. (It’ll also give you time to explore the beautiful 19th arrondissement.)
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE: At the centre of it all, museums and public spaces like the Louvre and Palais Royal await egg-hunters and chocolate lovers.
SACRE-COEUR OF EASTER: Spend the holiest of days in one of the holiest places in the City of Lights; at the very top of Montmartre.
OFF-CENTRE OF CULTURE, LA VILLETTE: Ever overlooked northeastern corner of Paris Proper, Canal l’Ourcq and beyond possess a not-so-secret complex of arts and culture.
AU COEUR DE LA VILLE, VINCENNES: Burrowed away in the 15th arrondissement on the edge of the hamlet of Vincennes is Bois de Vincennes; one of Paris’s most vast and beautiful parks.