Nice Carnival blows the winter blues far away

Written by on January 11, 2018 in Events, Provence-Alpes

Nice carnival floats and characters in the colourful Place Massena, Nice

If, like me, you’re used to grey skies, biting rain, sleet and snow in February – going to the Nice Carnival is the nicest possible shock to your system. I arrived from Paris at Nice train station wearing a coat, gloves, scarf and hat. Within minutes they were off and so was the jumper I was wearing. It was a balmy, sunny day, the sky was azure blue, the air was warm. People were wandering about in what I class as summer clothes.

It was my first time at the famous Nice Carnival and I arrived on a Sunday morning just before the afternoon parade was scheduled to take place.

A feel good humdinger Carnival that lifts your spirits

I met my friend Caterina who lives in Nice and we headed into the old town for lunch. There’s something wonderfully uplifting about sitting out in the sun sipping a chilled glass of rosé and scoffing a delicious plate of tasty grub in the middle of winter. By the time we finished, the streets were starting to fill up with people. The air of excitement was palpable and the low boom boom boom of music reached my ears as we walked up to the famous chequered Place Massena.

This isn’t the sort of carnival that roams round the streets willy nilly. Its much more organised than that. You can buy tickets to sit in the stands at the colourful Place Massena and watch the whole thing unfold right in front of you.

Street performers, dancers and the most incredible floats pass before the crowds to the sound of cheering. Drums beat a hypnotic rhythm, there’s loud hooting and whistling. Dance teams egg the crowd on, they rush up and down the stairs in their shiny costumes, grinning, clearly loving every minute. The upbeat music is so loud that you can feel the energy of it inside you. Confetti flies through the air, and not just a handful either – there are bucket loads of the tiny pieces of coloured paper. I felt like I was taking part in a live kaleidoscope. I was finding bits of confetti in my handbag weeks later when I was back in the cold and grey weather of home, and every time, in my head, I was back in sunny Nice.

It’s impossible not to feel happy at the Nice Carnival, it’s a feel good, real good, joyful and crazy humdinger of an event.

When to see the Nice Carnival

The carnival takes place over 15 days of mayhem, colour, flowers, floats, singing, dancing, entertainment and fun.

Details can be found here: en.nicecarnaval.com

What’s on in Nice while its carnival time

In between carnival processions there’s loads to do. My top five not to be missed when you’re in Nice for the carnival:

Markets – Cours Saleya is a large square, home to a daily market and lined with gorgeous mansion houses and cafés and restaurants galore. On Sunday there’s a flower market, Monday – antiques market, the rest of the week its food and fabulous.

Musee Matisse – the artist Matisse lived and worked in Nice for many years. At one time he lived in a house on Cours Saleya, later he moved into a hotel. The museum…

Eat! There are too many fantastic restaurants to mention here, but let’s just say, the Nicois love their food. (Authentic great value and delicious restaurants).

Enjoy a cocktail at: Negresco, the iconic hotel….

Wander: The old town is magnificent, a labyrinth of winding narrow streets, shops, restaurants, bars, galleries, museums and houses. Go in the summer and you can hardly move. Go in the winter and you’ll almost have it to yourself (in the sun).

More on Nice

10 great things to do in sunny Nice
Nice City Guide
Place Massena Nice
Palais Lascaris Nice

Nice Tourist Office for lots of ideas for what to see and do in the sunny city all year round.

Related Articles

South of France and Lavender tour of Provence

A nine-day tour of the south of France in July taking in the lavender fields of Provence which are at their blooming best… Medieval villages, magnificent castles, cafés with tables and chairs spilling out onto cobbled streets and little squares. Narrow streets lined with pastel coloured houses, shops and galleries. Gastronomic good, wonderful wines and […]

Continue Reading

Menton | Mediterranean charm and gastronomy

When life gives you lemons, it’s time to visit Menton. You can be sure that someone there will find a creative use for your fruit. Shops in the bustling traffic-free Rue St Michel teem with products from candles, soaps and soft toys to food and drink. The town’s claim to be lemon capital of the […]

Continue Reading

Gorbio | Stunning medieval village in Cote d’Azur, France

Gorbio, France is a hilltop medieval village, high-up above Menton, in the south-eastern corner of the Côte d’Azur. This picturesque village is a secret place, seemingly forgotten by tourists. As with other historic perched villages, Gorbio has an impressive view, 354 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find it in the craggy mountain side of […]

Continue Reading

Antibes is always a good idea!

To paraphrase Audrey Hepburn’s famous quote, “Paris is always a good idea,” I have felt the same way about the enticing old town of Antibes since I first set foot there … let’s just say many decades ago. These days there are a lot of changes happening in the vieille ville. Progress is catching up […]

Continue Reading

The Picasso Museum Antibes

UK arts writer, Tony Cooper, looks in on the Picasso Museum in Antibes on the French Riviera. It’s an area that was loved by the iconic and controversial 20th-century artist… I’m a regular visitor to France and I’m off on yet another great adventure to what I class as my adopted country travelling to Antibes […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top