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When it's about Kings and Queens, Nice knows perfectly how to celebrate that: 15 days, night and day parades, flower battles and unique atmosphere unite for one of Europe's biggest carnival festivities!
Rio has big samba parades, Venice is masked with a veil of classic elegance, Ivrea celebrates with oranges in a very particular way and of course, Nice has its unique approach too. Dating back to at least the 17th century, with even some references before that, it can be said that the real spirit of the current Nice Carnival had its main climatic moment with the creation of the Carnival Committee in 1873, lifting up the celebration to a whole new level. The main protagonists are the more than 10 meters high constructions that represent the King and Queen of Nice's Carnival; the maximum height was attained in 2014 with a 20m high King!
Another unique element of this enormous moving chariots are the main theme that sets the guidelines for the smaller chariots and their, usually, satirical point of view. This year we have the "King of Media", who with this journalistic aim, won't let any event uncovered...
With now more than 130 editions of France's biggest Carnival, there are 3 highlights not to be missed for the most festive and hungry ones among you.
The Night and Day King, Queen and floats Parade
The most relevant event of the Carnival, also called Corso in the local Niçois language, invades the scene of Nice's most famous square, Place Massena, whch offers the leading role of the show to the Carnival's King and Queen who bring awe and excitement to the happy, big and small carnivalieres. At least 90 minutes, packed with dance, music, jokes and sheer happiness will immerse you completely in the most carnivalesque atmosphere. My personal favourite, the Night parade! Filled with lights, colours and confetti that brighten up Massena's evenings as no other show can.
Little tip: disguise yourself from head to toe and you'll be granted free entry to the parade for an utmost carnivalesque experience; no, a red plastic nose won't cut it.
See below photos of this and last year´s editions:
The Flower Battle
When a battle has jazmin, rose and mimosa scents... then it can only be for Nice's Carnival! Held after French lunch time, the entry to this will give you the chance to come back home with more than another parade... Apart of the around 3000 fresh flowers, it enhances the local floral heritage and gives Nice's Carnival the most natural colours to this 2 week event. In addition to the party, and, flower power, it's one good way to surprise your girlfriend ;) After each battle, at the end, the flowers fly away from the floats launched by the its participants as a gift to the public that cheered them during all the event; there's no better way to bring back home a bouquet of the best flowers of the region.
The Socca party
No real celebration is without a tasty culinary note...the Socca party celebrates Nice's most gastronomic heritage and local proud. Taking place at the Jardin Albert 1er, this very Nice gastronomic star is a kind of crunchy crepe made out of chickpea flour and one of the Provence's most tasty delicacies; little tip, add some pepper and salt, a glass of local rose wine, and you'll be culinary synched with the French Riviera.
Looking for more?
Then put on your bathing suit and be ready for one cold salto: time for a Carnival Dip! Scheduled on the festivities' last day and probably a prelude of that evening's main event... a dip in the benigne Mediterranean Sea is the chance for the most brave locals to get ready for the nights big event.
The last carnival day is marked by the King's final parade into Nice's most beloved protagonist: the sea. With fireworks and one big celebration, the Carnival's King is incinerated in front of the Promenade des Anglais and says goodbye to one of the Rivieras's most famous Winter events.
Find here all the info and programme of this year's Carnival.
If you're hooked to Instagram then snap away and tag your pics with #nicecarnaval and #igersnice to win some very carnivalesque prizes, organized for the 2nd time by @igersnice and @nicecarnaval; click here for more info.