The Nice Carnival is one of the largest events organised on the French Riviera, attracting over 1 million visitors. It is one of the most famous carnivals in the world alongside the Rio de Janeiro and Venice Carnivals. The colourful event takes place during a two-week period in February. This time of the year offers a great opportunity to discover Nice and the French Riviera which enjoy a mild weather compared to the rest of France.
The carnival is a modern, high-quality show with a creative procession of floats made up of two different events: the Carnival Parade and the Flower Parade. During the parades, visitors won’t escape being hit by confetti, silly string (an aerosol spray that shoots foamy and sticky streamers) and even fresh flowers!
The Carnival Parade
The Carnival Parade takes place day and night on the Place Masséna and around the Jardin Albert 1er. Lasting 90 minutes, the colourful parade features 18 allegorical or burlesque floats, 1,000 musicians and dancers. The parade works its way up to a crescendo of gigantic celebrations with three leading floats: the King’s, the Queen’s and Carnivalon’s, their son.
Each of the floats are meticulously designed by the ‘Ymagiers’. The ‘Carnivaliers’ are the artist-craftsmen which then create the float with the performance elements. Then artistic coordinators oversee the passage to 3D. The 18 floats measure 12 m long by 3 m wide and from 8 to 17 m high.
The Flower Parade
The Flower Parade takes place beside the sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais. The flower-decked floats of the parade are ride by extravagantly dressed performers who throw out mimosas, gerberas, and lilies to the public. The 16 floats of the parade are 7 m long by 2 m wide and 6 m high. Each float includes about 3,000 stems of which 70% is produced in the Nice region. Flower pricking takes 72 hours.
Every year the Carnival Queen is nominated to represent the spirit of the Flower Parade.