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Nice Carnival, France

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What is the Carnival of Nice?

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The Nice Carnival is an annual celebration held inthe city of Nice, France. Currently, the Nice Carnival is the largest and most famous in the country. During the two weeks in which the carnival takes place, you can see tens of floats, groups of dancers and entertainment of the highest level.

The Nice Carnival is the most important event of the French Riviera and all of France. Every year the carnival has a new theme and title for the king of carnivals. In this way, thetheme, scenery and color change every year. Previously, the Nice Carnival has had titles such as King of Music, King of Energy, King of Space andKing of Fashion. For the year 2021, the title or theme that the carnivals will have will be: “Roi des Animaux” or King of the Animals..


 

Every year,the streets of Nice turn into an incredible spectacle that is made up of themed floats, big-headed puppets, good entertainment, dancers, live music andbeautiful parades that are sure to take your breath away.

The Nice Carnival is composed of 3 parades: Bataille de Fleurs, Corso Carnavalesque Illuminé and Corso Carnavalesque – Parade Nissarda, or Battle or parade of flowers, Parade of lights andCarnival Parade – Parade Nissarda. Each of these parades have their own characteristics, making them true works of art and attractions in themselves.

The construction of the floats is a long and tedious process that takes months of work. The construction of the floats begins in October, when the iron frames and the hydraulic system of the vehicle are placed. Then, work begins with the papier-mâché and the construction of the aesthetic part, faces, factions and physical details. Finally, the structures are painted and the entire electrical, motorized and lighting system is placed.

Each year, the Nice carnivals are attended by at least one million people to witness the 3 parades that are composed of 18 floats up to 17 meters high. In addition, every year 20 tons of confeti are used, turning the city into a multicolored rain of hundreds of thousands of little papers.

 

The Nice Carnival is a visual spectacle both day and night

The Nice Carnival is a visual spectacle both day and night

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When is the Nice Carnival

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Carnival in Nice takes place between the month of February and March, depending on the calendar taking into account the Christian calendar and lasts 2 weeks.

 

 

History of the Nice Carnivals

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Carnivals in Nice were first recorded in the year 1294. In this document of the Count of Provence it highlights that Charles II Duke of Anjou went to spend the celebrations of the Carnival in the city of Nice. Thus, we can say that the primitive beginnings of the carnival were celebrated since the 13th century.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries carnivals were popular festivals and during the Renaissance period dances were held in the streets of the city. During the 18th century the carnivals had been strongly influenced by the Venetian carnivals, so masked dances were often held.

During the second half of the 19th century, the carnivals began to falter due to some events that generated distrust particularly to those belonging to the nobility. In the year 1873 the “Comité de las Festividades” was created, which served as instruments to carry out the carnivals in a more efficient and organized way. The restructuring was a success, resulting in parades with more structured floats and stages.



In the year 1882, the first entry of the King of Carnival called “Triboulet”, which consisted of apuppet or puppet made of straw and rags that was placed in the Place de la Préfecture.  In addition, that same year appeared for the first time the modern confetti, made with multicolored papers.

The carnival gradually evolved and integrated more and more floats and modern elements. Several carnival groups began to emerge and become part of the much better organized festivities. In addition,the floats began to be mobile, only that they were pulled with the help of pack animals, mainly donkeys.

Like many other carnival celebrations in Europe, the Nice Carnival was interrupted by the First and Second World Wars, as well as other violent conflicts. However, as it re-emerged again, carnivals began to use historical events in themes for use in carnival parades and parties..

After World War II, the carnivals in Nice have been going on uninterruptedly, featuring new themes every year. Since then, the carnivals have been acquiring new elements and modernizing their characteristics, becoming one of the most important carnivals in the world.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.

 

Where is the Nice Carnival

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The carnivals are held in thecity of Nice, department of Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France..

The city of Nice has a total area of 71 kilometers where about 340,000 people live.

 

Large colorful floats are the main attractions of the Nice Carnival

Large colorful floats are the main attractions of the Nice Carnival

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How is the Nice Carnival celebrated

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The Nice Carnival is celebrated every year with a new theme. Thus, all the floats, scenery and costumes are adapted to follow the chosen theme. The streets are filled with 18 floats, thousands of dancers and the famous “grosses têtes“, a dolls with giant heads. For two weeks the city of Nice becomes a great multicolored stage full of music and joy.

The city of Nice will have no rest for two weeks, as it will be in constant activity both day and night. The streets are filled with stalls and gift stores, colorful costumes and lots of food.

The parades are the heart and soul of the Nice carnivals and are made up of three different types: Battle of Flowers, Parade of Lights and Carnival Parade. Each of these has different characteristics that make carnivals a unique celebration in its style.

 

Parades

The battle of the flowers

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The battle or parade of flowers has the most beautiful floats and known worldwide. This parade consists ofthemed floats that are decorated with thousands and thousands of locally sourced flowers. In fact, 80% of the flowers are produced locally. The flowers are placed as decoration both on the floats and on the costumes of the artists, turning the streets into a true spring scene.  It is estimated that the entire scenography is made with approximately 100,000 flowers. In addition, while the floats make their way, they deliver and throw flowers to all the spectators.

In addition, hundreds of dancers perform during this event, all of them wearing beautiful colorful costumes and animating the crowd. Also, several large dolls and figurines are present in the street while performing different theatrical presentations.

 

Parade of Lights

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The parade of lights is one of the most important and awaited events of all carnivals. During the event severalprocessions with themed costumess take to the streets, most of these featurehundreds of lights, which illuminate the streets. It is a real light show that you can’t miss. In addition, the floats that cross the streets have different themes and are also adorned with hundreds of lights.

The parade also features puppets, circus performers, dancers and international groups that perform interesting and colorful choreographies. Of course, the whole show is accompanied by various percussion bands and metallic instruments.

During the event, the streets are witness to a great rain of streamers and confetti. From the street, several characters with various machines are responsible for throwing meters and meters of streamers, as well as millions of multicolored papers to the crowd in the stands.

Corso Carnavalesque Parada Nissarda

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This is a macro event that incorporates all the carnival elements of the carnivals. In the streets you can see dozens of big-headed dolls walking on tiptoe with a graceful gait to entertain the public. In addition, circus performers move through the air with the help of harnesses, interacting with the public and performing pirouettes.

The floats make an appearance with their large size and diverse themes and colors. Some of them have satirical themes to mock certain political and social personalities. In addition, the dancers attract the full attention of the spectators with their large repertoire of graceful dances and full of bright colors.

 

King of Carnival

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The King of Carnival is a figure of large proportions who is transported on a large float. Throughout the Carnival, the King remains in Masséna Square, where all the parades begin, so he makes an appearance at each of them. On the last night of the carnival, a burning effigy of the King is placed in a small boat in the Bay of Angels and pushes out to sea while thefireworks explode over it.

 

Tips for going to the Nice Carnivals

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If you decide to attend the Nice Carnivals, we recommend planning your trip in advance, making a travel itinerary andbooking your preferred accommodations in advance. Also, be sure to pack comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as some warm clothes so you can fully enjoy your carnival.

Nice Carnival applies some strict rules regarding the entrance to the carnivals, so you should follow them to the letter to avoid any misunderstandings.

If you decide to wear a costume, make sure that it does not have any religious, military or offensive theme.

Avoid bringing alcoholic beverages or glass containers, as the latter could break and cause accidents.

We encourage you to actively participate in the carnivals, since people who attend fully dressed from head to toe, have free admission to some of the parades that take place during the two weeks.

If you want to enjoy the carnivals in a more comfortable way, you can reserve or compare seats for a price of approximately 25 euros. In addition, you can watch the show standing, but you must still pay an entrance fee of 10 euros per person.

 

Events at the Nice Carnival

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Each of the parades has a specific date and time, as they correspond to the essence of each of them. The parade of lights takes place during the night so that, in this way, the light show of the costumes and floats are much more colorful. The battle of flowers is held during the day so that people can fully enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

 

Flower Parade

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For the 2021 edition of the Nice Carnivals, the battle of flowers will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday: February 17 and 24.

Saturdays: February 13, 20 and 27.

All the parades take place at 2:30 pm at Place Masséna – Jardin Albert 1er.

 

Parade of Lights

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For the 2021 edition of the Nice Carnivals, the Parade of Lights will take place on the following dates:

Saturday days: February 13, 20 and 27.

Tuesdays: 16 and 23

All the parades take place at 11:00 pm at Place Masséna – Jardin Albert 1er.

 

The Grand Parade – Parade Nissarda

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For the edition of the Nice Carnivals, the Grand Parade – Parade Nissarda takes place only on one occasion and the following date:

Sunday, February 21 at 2:30 pm at Place Masséna – Jardin Albert 1er..

The burning of the effigy of the King of Carnival takes place on the last day of the carnivals.

 

The Parade of Lights takes place Tuesday and Saturday during the night at the Nice Carnival

The Parade of Lights takes place Tuesday and Saturday during the night at the Nice Carnival

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Nice Carnival Parades

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The Nice Carnival has the particularity of having 3 parades that, despite having similar characteristics, have different essences and themes, which makes the carnivals unique and particular.

 

The Battle of the Flowers

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The battle of the flowers is an incredible natural manifestation with the participation of allegorical floats and floats full of flowers. In addition, several large puppets and puppets are thrown into the street throughout the show. Some carnival volunteers carry large cannons with which they hurl yards and yards of streamers at spectators.

During the Battle of Flowers, floats throw hundreds of colorful flowers to the public.

 

 

Parade of Lights

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The Parade of Lights is one of the most awaited parades, as they feature a particular element of the carnivals: hundreds of lights that illuminate the streets of the city. During the parade, hundreds of dancers take to the streets to perform various choreographies with bright elements and full of lights. In addition, during this event there is the participation of international groups that give a special touch to the parade.

Throughout the show, various artists perform circus arts presentations, moving around the venue with the help of harnesses and interacting with the public. We can’t forget the dozens of colorful floats that, just like the dancers, feature hundreds of lights that turn the night into a spectacular light show.

 

Corso Carnavalesque Parada Nissarda

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This parade encompasses all that is known as carnival festivities. It is a true themed spectacle full of floats and dancers. As in the parade of lights, hundreds of acrobats perform graceful and amusing numbers as they parade through the air. Some floats feature live shows and theatrical presentations, adding an innovative and interesting element to the parade.

The street is filled with hundreds of dolls, puppets and balloons that are strolling around the grounds, moving from one place to another. In addition, the dozens of floats capture all the attention. While some floats have fun and joyful elements, others take the opportunity to satirize and mock some political and public figures.

 

Parade route

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The Nice Carnival lasts 2 weeks full of activities and parades

The Nice Carnival lasts 2 weeks full of activities and parades

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For the year 2021, the parades take place in a single point: Place Masséna. However, the King’s entrance to the site is from Promenade des Anglais to Masséna Square where he will witness all the parades during the carnivals.

 

The ganses are typical carnival sweets in Nice

The ganses are typical carnival sweets in Nice

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What to eat at the Carnival in Nice

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Like many other regions of Europe, in Nice Carnival is also celebrated through cuisine. Usually, the time before Lent is the perfect opportunity to consume sweets that are usually high in fat, creams or sugar, sometimes all three at the same time. These dishes are what make carnivals a special time for special dishes and sweets.

One of the foods during carnivals in Nice is the ganses. This sweet is a kind of ribbons made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar and lemon. The ingredients are incorporated and left to rest for an hour and then cut and fried in plenty of oil.

You can also try the socca, a specialty of Nice. The dish is a crepe made with olive oil and chickpea flour. It is usually served piping hot and eaten with the hands.

In addition, the city of Nice also offers some places where you can go out to eat a traditional dish of your choice. Some of the most famous places are: Bistrot Chaud-Vin, Lou Pistou, Oliviera, Citrus and Acchiardo.

 

Socca is one of the specialties of the city of Nice

Socca is one of the specialties of the city of Nice

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Travel Insurance

 

From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurance. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Nice Carnival

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Within the carnivals you can see any of the 3 parades characteristic of the festivities or all three. OnSaturdays and Wednesdays you can see the Battle of the Flowers with the hundreds of flowers that are thrown to the public. On Saturdays and Tuesdays you can see the parade of lights that mesmerize all spectators with its large number of lights, artists and floats.

Finally, on Sunday you can see the big main parade with dozens of floats, hundreds of dancers and circus performers who walk through the air entertaining and stealing smiles from the spectators.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in English in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of the Nice Carnivals

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Musée Marc Chagall

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It is a museum that pays tribute to Marc Chagall. Inside the enclosure you can see several of his works. Although it does not have each of his works you can see a good and nourished exhibition of mosaics and paintings.

 

Cathedrale Saint-Nicolas in Nice

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It is one of the most important religious temples of the city. The work was completed in 1912. Its facade is colorful and inside you can find a lot of historical images and artifacts.

 

Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate

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It is one of the cathedrals of the city. It has a simple facade that was completed in 1949. However, the vast majority of the structure was built in the year 1685.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety at the Nice Carnival

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The city of Nice is an extremely safe place, so you don’t have to worry if you want to come to party or stroll through the streets both day and night. In addition, during the carnivals, the city has dozens of security checkpoints and hundreds of police officers to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.

As always, we recommend keeping your valuables in a safe place to avoid theft and loss. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your valuables safe:

 

 

Weather at the Nice Carnival

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During Carnival, the city of Nice is somewhat cold, with temperatures ranging between 12 and 7 degrees Celsius. We recommend you bring something warm to the festivities.

 

The battle of flowers is one of the attractions of the Nice Carnival

The battle of flowers is one of the attractions of the Nice Carnival

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How to get to the Nice Carnival

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How to get there by plane

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The closest airport to the city of Nice is the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which receives a large number ofEuropean and domestic flights. Once you are here, you can use the different means of transportation to get to the city center.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by train

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The city of Nice is connected to the rest of France. You can get from Paris to Nice in about 6 hours.

In addition, you also have trains connecting to Milan, Rome and Venice.

 

How to get there by tram

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From the airport you can take a streetcar on the Lignes D’azur company on line L2 or L3 to the city of Nice. The journey takes 30 minutes.

 

How to get there by bus

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From the airport you can take a bus company Lignes D’azur. The journey takes about 25 minutes.

 

How to get there by car

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From the airport you can take the Voie Pierre Mathis to the city of Nice. The ride is about 8 minutes.

 

Where to stay at the Nice Carnival

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Booking.com

 

ibis Styles Nice Vieux Port

3 star hotel 1.1 km from the center of Nice. The rooms have air conditioning, TV and private bathroom. The hotel has a bar, parking and free wifi.

 

Hôtel Oasis

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3-star hotel 850 meters from the center of Nice. Rooms have TV, bathroom and balcony. The hotel has breakfast, bar, terrace, parking and free wifi.

 

Best Western Plus Hôtel Massena Nice

4-star hotel 150 meters from the center of Nice. Rooms feature a minibar, tea set and private bathroom. The hotel has a bar, parking and free Wi-Fi.

We recommend using Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:

 


Booking.com

 

Thanks for reading

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