The Carnaval de Nice has been a burst of brightness in the Côte d’Azur winter for some 700 years and is one of the three biggest carnivals in the world
Although the sight of oversized papier-mâché heads in a parade has become a relatively familiar sight in recent years, there’s a strong case to be made to say that it all started with Nice’s annual Mardi Gras Carnival. Besides, there are very few cities who do the whole thing as well as how the people of Nice do it.
The winter-fest (the French regard February as a winter month) now goes on for 16 days and next year’s event – just 3 months away – will take place from the 12th to the 28th of February 2016
The Carnival is made up of two distinct events: the carnival parades, both by day and by night and the flower parades.
On the huge Italianate Place Masséna, 17 allegorical or burlesque floats parade with various entertainment elements, street performers and different international musical troupes. By night, the play of lights gives the floats a magical aspect.
Along the sea-front, the elegance of the flower parades emphasize the power of flowers by enhancing the floral heritage of the region. The Carnival theme is expressed by the unique costumes worn by the models who throw thousands of flowers to the audience. This second, more poetic, aspect of Carnival is an integral part of the event.The Carnival remains loyal to the spirit of this large popular event, particularly with the increasing number of local (neighbourhood) Carnivals while at the same time remaining a major modern event.
After the success in 2015 of the LOU QUEERNAVAL – France’s first gay parade – the second edition will be launched on Place Masséna on February 19th, a friendly event opened to everyone, with the theme of the day being ‘live better’.
2016 also sees the return of the Sports Day and it will take place once more on the world-famous Promenade des Anglais. The first weekend will welcome the Nice Carnival Run, the most festive one in Europe on 5 or 10 km, where every participant will have to be costumed. The third weekend will greet the Carnival Bath and the Zumba, the proceeds of which will be given to which benefits will be given to charity.
Alongside the festivities, the carnival season offers an excellent opportunity to discover Nice in winter: the gentle climate, the brightness of the sky and the famous art de vivre associated with the French Riviera.
Get Yourself There
Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com) fly direct through the winter 3 times per week from Dublin to Nice.