On the Search for Tradition in the Modern Nice Carnival
February is synonymous with more than one big event; Valentine’s Day, the Oscars, Six Nations Rugby, and, if you live in Nice, Carnival.
Like it, or loathe it (I’d say most residents fall into the latter camp), don’t even try to fight the Carnival.
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, when carnation farming in the Nice area was the largest in France.