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French Riviera Winter Festivals and More

Wishing you the happiest 2019!

Hoping that readers have had a restful festive season – locking out the realities of the world for a few days.

French Riviera Winter Festivals

The ferris wheel in Nice might soon be “taking a rest” but the French Riviera never sleeps. Your waistbands may be straining, but it is possible to have a great time in the southeast of France, without piling on more calories!

The French Riviera and its hinterland shake off the mantle of overindulgence and January greet the famous Monte Carlo Rally. It has changed significantly from its first year in 1911 – when monied “aristos” used to head to Monaco in their jalopies from all over Europe, but locally, the Col de Turini is pleased to welcome the thrill of rally cars, and their “petrol head” fans!

More reading on the Monaco Grand Prix.

While up in the backcountry, do not fail to take advantage of the Mercantour ’s snow season – with skiing of all sorts and snowshoe opportunities – just an hour from Nice.

French Riviera Winter Festivals Seaside Views

There is little more inspiring in February than seeing swathes of mimosa, showing their pretty faces to the world – a portent of spring – very early – and very welcome!  Easy to wrap up warm and get out and walk.

Naturally, there is a celebration, and to the west of the department, the town of Mandelieu prepares to party. While the quaint town of Bormes les Mimosa hosts both a festival for “all things green” (plants, films, gardening ideas, a kids garden and more), as well as wonderful parades (February 23-24, 2019).

Read: Scenic Driving Route du Mimosa Itinerary

French Riviera Winter Festivals Mimosa

In Nice, as ever, there is Carnaval, prior to Lenten abstinence.  This year’s theme is “the King of the Cinema” – Roi du Cinema. Head along the Côte d’Azur to Menton, where you might never see as much citrus, as at the Citron Festival  – 2019 theme is “Fantastic Worlds”.  Both festivals are from mid-February to early March. Booking is highly recommended for grandstand views of the festivities.

Read: The Cote d’Azur is Riot of Colour at Carnaval de Nice.

French Riviera Winter Festivals Menton Fête de Citron

If your fancy is for equines, there is a winter season at the Cagnes Hippodrome – the winter season runs to mid-March – with flat and jump races, plus trotting.  It is a magic environment, seated in a grandstand, enjoying a fine meal and looking out to the track and the Mediterranean.  Throughout the year there are also events for all the family, plus trade shows and exhibitions.

Alternatively, there is no shortage of pretty cattle just up the road!!  They may not be too keen on being mounted but are more than happy to be offering their fine milk for cheese on the Authion plateau.  A wonderful excursion, with Corsica, often looming in the distance.

French Riviera Winter Festivals Cattle


Image credits:

1 – Mimosa – courtesy of Adobe Stock

2 – Nice Carnaval – courtesy of Adobe Stock

3 – Car shot on the coast – courtesy of Adobe Stock

4 – Menton Citrus Festival – courtesy of Adobe Stock

5 – Nice ferris wheel – courtesy of Adobe Stock

6 – Cattle – Spacebetween Walking Holidays

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Liz Lord

Liz Lord

Liz Lord and her husband Mel Jones have been living in the Mercantour National Park for the past 15 years.

Most people would already be saying “where?”, but in fact the Mercantour remains a delightfully unknown area straddling the Franco-Italian border, in the Alpes-Maritimes. Liz and Mel live just an hour North of Nice – so can enjoy the best of best worlds, their life concentrated in their home in Berthemont les Bains, yet being able to enjoy the hubbub on the coast when the need for culture arises.

Choosing to decamp from the UK (and their “normal” corporate lives!) after a chance encounter with their current home in 2001, they now earn their living by renting out their two gites and offering walking and adventure holidays at Space Between.

With the experience of ex-pat life, setting up a small business in France, house renovation, and land and horse management!, with a keen interest in food and wine and travel, Liz has much to contribute for those interested in a new life in France or with a zest to dip their toe in the water on holiday.

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