Nice Carnival

Le Carnaval de Nice

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Don’t miss the vibrant and exciting Carnaval de Nice! Not only one of the oldest carnivals of its kind in the world, it is also one of the best known ranking alongside those at Rio de Janeiro, Venice and New Orleans.

Lasting two weeks around the end of February, the Carnival consists of a succession of floral parades known as batailles des fleurs and other events, effectively creating an extended street party. On Mardi Gras there are fireworks and a bonfire

Origins of the Carnival

The first Carnival took place in medieval times for a visit by the Count of Provence. Subsequently events were held after the Lenten Fast right up to the Revolutionary period (end of the 18th and early 19th Century). In 1830 it returned to honour King Charles Félix. Furthermore it celebrated the County of Nice‘s association with the Kingdom of Sardinia- Piedmont.

The modern Carnival dates from 1873 when the organisers decided to have an official theme each year. The festivities begin with the arrival of Sa Majesté Carnaval or ‘King Carnival’. This is a papier maché effigy of the King, sometimes modelled on a well-known person. In 2017 the Carnival featured the King of Energy who was ceremonially burned at the end of the Carnival. Previous years have seen a King of Laughter (1990), a King of Dupes (2007) and a King of Sport (2013). In 2020 we will have the King of Fashion!

Where to see the Carnival?

It all starts the arrival of the ‘King’ in place Massena. Followed by 18 floats and 1000 musicians and dancers it makes its way down onto the Promenade des Anglais and loops around the Jardin Albert I. To get the best views you have to pay but it is possible to catch a glimpse around the route. Some processions are free of charge and some are during the evening Check the website for details

Note: Be sure to book your accommodation well ahead!

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