The Nice CarnivalThe Nice Carnival is the third largest celebration of Carnival in the world, after the Venice and Rio carnivals. It takes place in February and brings together hundreds of thousands of people each year.
HISTORYIt is difficult to date the first celebration of Carnival, but the first mention of it is made by Charles of Anjou, Count of Provence, in 1294, designating the festival as “the happy days of Carnival”. It was not until 1873 that the Carnival experienced a real organization: André Saetone then created the “Festival Committee”, in charge of developing the celebration. It was after this date that many traditions specific to the Nice Carnival appeared: Royal Char, Flower Battles, etc.
PROGRAMThe Nice Carnival chooses a theme for each year: in 2020, Nice celebrates the 136th edition with the theme “King of fashion”. The festivities are well organized: since October, the designs of the floats have already been chosen and the flowers that will be used for the Battle have been planted.
CORSO CARNAVALESQUEThe carnival corso is made up of 20 floats,the four main ones having their very specific names: the King, the Queen,Carnavalon and the Soufflerie (tank throwing confetti). The King of Carnival and the Queen of Carnival open the festivities on Friday evening on Place Masséna, and sit on this square until the end of the festivities before being burned. The floats, made of papier mache, all pass through Place Masséna during the celebration.
BATTLE OF FLOWERSThe idea of the Flower Battles was created by a French writer, Alphonse Karr, and applied directly by Andriot Saetone in 1876. Thus, from this date, one of the traditions for the spectators is to throw flowers at each other. Nowadays, the battle between spectators no longer takes place. Gigantic floats composed of thousands of flowers are created, and the flowers are thrown by the models from these floats to the public. Their theme follows that of the carnival corso.
STREET ARTSAnother peculiarity of the Nice Carnival is the presence of “street arts”, coming from the four corners of the world, showing their culture by adapting to the theme of the year. In conclusion, February is the right time to visit Nice, where you can enjoy the festivities as well as the pleasant weather of the South of France.