The main reason for me coming to Nice was to take part in Carnavale du Nice, a month long celebration in the lead up to the easter season. It was a fantastic time to be in town - the spring sunshine and warm(er) weather and the festive spirit the perfect remedy for shaking off the winter blues!
There are a whole host of activities held during the celebration, but the two highlights are the Bataille de Fleurs (The Flower Battle or Flower Parade) and the Corso Carnavalesque Illuminé (Street Carnival of Lights.)
The Flower Parade took place along the Promenade des Anglaise, the long stretch of road bordering the beachfront. The street fastly filled up with people, kids armed with streamers, confetti and silly string ready to chuck at parade participants and festival goers alike. The giant floats, decked out in thousands of blooms, were the main attraction of the parade, each with a carnival princess who would toss flowers out to the crowd. In between, local performers and bands would march by - baton twirlers, brass bands, drummers, horse riders and more. Streamers and confetti flew through the air and littered the streets afterwards, definitely a sign of the fun that was had!
But it was the evening carnival that really blew me away! Held in the Place Massena (the main square of town) it was so fun to be caught up with all the locals (and visitors) and join in the celebration. Even got roped into a gigantic conga line before the main parade even started (not quite sure how that happened!) The theme of the Carnival this year was the King of Food, and the gigantic floats reflected all different aspects of French gastronomy - some perhaps a little controversial (A chef holding a duck by the neck in preparation for Foie Gras?) but all in all an unapologetic celebration of the French love of food and wine. Accompanied by great music, dance and performances (and of course lots more confetti and streamers) it was a magical evening that showed off the fun and spirit of Nice.
The crowds may be crazy, but it's so cool to be in town for one of their biggest party of the year!
Been to any crazy carnivals or events around the world?