Easter is less than three weeks away, and I am formulating the idea of creating a hunt for the les oeufs de Paques in the Château grounds. It will not be quite as elaborate as the one held at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte – http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/vaux-vicomte-celebrates-easter/ – which is one of the most famous egg hunts in the land. Closer to Saint-Philbert-en-Mauges is an event that is organised by the Secours Populaire charity at the Grand-Blottereau park in Nantes where children may hunt for polystyrene eggs which may be exchanged for chocolate items – https://www.nantes.fr/home.html
Meanwhile, there is undoubtedly enough scope for a day of divertissements at de Bois Giraud while a trip to the local confectioners is to almost certainly to be confronted by an array of delicacies that look too magnificent to be eventually hidden around the garden. Almost all of them, to paraphrase the old saying, really do look too good to eat – but I am sure that I will eventually be able to overcome that issue.
The idea of an egg hunt derives, I believe, from the ancient tradition of Cloche Volant – or flying bells. They fall silent on Jeudi Saint, the Thursday before Good Friday (Le Vendredi saint), as they are travelling to the Vatican to be blessed by the Pope. On their return, Les cloches de Pâques (Easter Bells) bring with them bring gifts for the children. These are distributed across the land during Saturday night, and when the sound of ringing is heard once more ion the morning of le Dimanche de Pâques (Easter Sunday), it is the cue for the cry of les cloches sont passées! – the bells have passed!
In days gone by, the presents would have often taken the form of real eggs dyed in various colours, but now chocolate is the norm. Another tradition is that if the first item you consume on Easter Sunday is an egg laid on Good Friday you would be protected from illness for the following year. And so, wherever you are in the world, a most happy and peaceful Easter.