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February Fun on the Cote D’Azur Nice Carnaval and Fête du Citron

Nice Carnaval

In February 2018, for the first time, we found ourselves at Nice Carnaval – it probably sounds really awful, but we hadn’t really planned to go, only noticing it was on whilst we were planning a trip to the Fête du Citron at Menton for our wedding anniversary so thought we’d extend our stay to watch the Saturday parades in Nice.

We’d never really heard about the Carnaval de Nice so this came as rather a surprise. We didn’t really know anything about the Carnaval and so went with no expectations; we had no idea of where was best to stand and to be honest really just stumbled our way through organising our time there.

…Continue reading here for Julie’s article on their second (possibly annual) trip to the Carnaval de Nice.

February Nice Carnaval

Plan your Visit to Nice’s Carnival

The theme and exact dates for Carnaval de Nice change annually, but the event always lasts for two weeks. This French Riviera carnival rivals Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Venice, Italy for its largess and extravagance. Although, carnival traditions are rooted in the Middle Ages the first official event in Nice occurred on February 23, 1873. Read more about the history of the Carnaval de Nice here.

The official program includes several parades during the daytime and evenings. The parade floats (usually 18) are decorated in flowers and characters to match that year’s theme.

On Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons during Carnaval, there are flower parades – Bataille de Fleurs. The parade floats are covered in flowers, and the riders are said to throw some 100,000 flowers into the crowd each time. This Carnival tradition dates back to the 19th century, a time when carnation farming in the Nice area was the largest in France.

The evening parades (Parade of Lights) are mesmerizing. “Then the jaw-dropping sight of vast illuminated floats making their way around the route during the evening’s Corso Carnavalesque Illumine.” ~ Vaucluse Dreamer

Tickets are required to access most events. There is a range of pricing depending on whether you want reserved seating or just entry into the viewing area. The standing room only ticket gives you a bit of flexibility to move around.

Some of the crowd gets into the festive spirit dressing in costume for the occasion.

Expect security checks at the entry to events.  Plan to arrive in advance of the parades.

Menton’s Fête du Citron

Last year we visited the Fête du Citron for the first time, 40 years after I’d first seen postcards of the incredible structures when I’d visited the town as a child. It was well worth the wait, and the event exceeded my expectations, and we had a fantastic time.

The Fête du Citron is an incredible event that takes place each February in the beautiful town of Menton, nestled on the Mediterranean Coast, a stone’s throw from the Italian border.

…Continue reading here for this contributor blog post by Vaucluse Dreamer to discover the highlights of their second trip to seaside Menton for this citrus-themed event. February is a terrific time of year to visit the Côte d’Azur with these two lively events (Nice Carnaval and Fête du Citron)  running concurrently.

Fête du Citron Menton

Fête du Citron Know Before You Go

The Lemon Festival – Fête du Citron has run for 86 years. It attracts roughly 240,000 visitors each year, so expect crowds. The event includes parades (day and night), a citrus garden, and fireworks. Between the static displays and parade floats, there is roughly 145 tons of lemons and oranges required during the festival. Not to mention many people behind the scenes helping put everything together and replacing spoilt fruit.

Purchase your tickets online or onsite.

The Fête du Citron theme changes annually, but there are always lemons.


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Julie Whitmarsh

Julie and her husband Andy started visiting the Vaucluse area 25 years ago & over the years have increased the amount of time they spend there with their growing family. She has a deep affection for the area, finding it is a great place to visit, where the whole family can relax and enjoy time together.

She longs for the day when she can ‘up-sticks’ from her home on Dartmoor & relocate to the Luberon and spend her days cycling, walking, visiting markets & brocante fairs and of course enjoying the local food and drink.

Her blog VaucluseDreamer gives her a space to highlight some of her favourite things about the area from places to visit to particular activities that she and her family all enjoy.

She hopes one day it will be a place where she can share the process of renovating a house in France, but at the moment that will have to wait.

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