Carnival in Nice

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Carnival in Nice

The Carnival in Nice is a two-week intense spring festival on the French Riviera. Experience the carnival parades, brightly colored costumes and alluring samba rhythms that fill the streets of Nice with thousands of spectators.

The Carnival in Nice is world class

On the European continent you can only experience a similar carnival in Venice.

The Carnival in Nice is thus in the absolute top class along with the Brazilian carnival in Rio de Janeiro and Mardi-Gras in American New Orleans.

Origin of carnival

Of Latin origin, carne-vale means “goodbye to meat”, and was in the Catholic Church an event that began the 40-day fasting period leading up to Easter.

In preparation, people ate and drank in copious quantities in the days leading up to the onset of lent. There was a tradition, especially in southern European countries, of partying and dressing up.

parade Nice Karneval
Spectacular figures grace the parade of Nice carnival – ©Nice Carnival

As far back as the 13th century, large, opulent and hilarious masquerades were held, which results on to today’s impressive processions and celebrations over many days.

The exact program for this year’s celebration in Nice can be found on the carnival’s own website www.nicecarnaval.com. Please note that the two-week event attracts over a million visitors to Nice each year, so there is congestion on the streets and hotels. 

The Carnival in Nice is an experience of a lifetime

Every year, a special theme is chosen for the carnival, and artists create a masterpiece of mobile artwork in all the colours of the rainbow and with impressive floral decorations.

The music and samba rhythms are thrown across the streets, while 50 dance troupes of local and international artists provide a show and experience of a lifetime.

woman in green costume for Nice Carnival
Stunning colours and costumes adorn the festive parades of Nice carnival – ©Nice Carnaval

The parades run both during the day and night, and especially on the Promenade des Anglais,you can experience the unique “flower fights”, which is a beautiful showcase for the local flower production.

Security

Please note that following the terrorist attack involving a lorry in Nice on 14 July 2016, strict requirements and systematic access checks have been introduced to the festival area. Staff may require searching and checking of bags and the like.

The carnival’s website states items that are not allowed to be carried, e.g. larger suitcases, fireworks, weapons, helmets, racks for cameras, folding chairs and bicycles.

Remember to arrive well in advance of the start of show, as there may be long queues at the entrance gates.

Parking and traffic

Throughout the festival period, access to central Nice in your own car is extremely difficult. It is advisable to park on the outskirts of the city and take public transport into the festival area.

Set aside ample time for the transport, as the traffic is hectic in the two weeks of carnival.

Prices

Tickets are required for access to the central festival areas of Masséna Square and the Promenade des Anglais.

There are various combination options for buying a ticket, which for adults starts at 23 euros per event.

Children up to 5 years old are free and the price is 10 euros from 6 to 12 years. See all the options and buy a ticket via the festival website.

The Carnivals website: www.nicecarnaval.com

By Mikael Mortensen – 2022 

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