The major event of the Cote d’Azur region in winter and one of the biggest carnivals in the world Nice carnival offers a sublime and unforgettable spectacle in a unique place, the famous Promenade des Anglais.
.The most well-known french festival
Each year, Nice decides on a new theme for their parade. The “carnivalists” then imagine and create floats that fit to the idea. They do their best to build the most beautiful and the most original float of the Carnival. The carnivalists work throughout the night to decorate the floats with fresh flowers and the next day, the parade starts and the participants, dresses-up in various costumes throw handfuls of flowers and confetti at the spectators. This is a beautiful and sweet-smelling scene as rose, mimosa and dahlia petals invade the place!
Theme of 2012 : “King of sport”
The carnival usually takes place over15 days, starting in February. This year,the parades will start on Friday, February 17th and go on until Sunday, March 4th. The theme for 2012 is “King of Sport”, a directallusion to the Olympics being held in London this year. Great Britain is also the guest of honour country this year.
The carnival always starts with a giant puppet, “His Majesty Carnival” taking the Freedom of the city on the Place Massena. The puppet will stay in there until the end of the carnival, and parades afterwards a last time one final time before being burned on a pyre out at sea, or sometimes on the shore.
The “corso”: parades and flower battles
The “Corso” is the Italian name for “street” or “public esplanade”. This word is often used to describe the scenes that take place in Nice during the carnival. There are three main Corsos: the carnival Corso, the night Corso and the flower Corso. You can book tickets in advance to see the displays. It is possible to sit down and see them from a platform but it will cost you a few more Euros.
The carnival parades, glorified by the splendid decorations of the Place Massena, are made up of twenty floats and numerous characters- 30 of them are made from pasteboard. They will tell the story of the “King of Sport”. The bright colours mingle with street arts and bands from all around the world. It is said that this year’s floats will be exceptionally bulky and mechanized; reaching 8 to 20 m high! The amount of work that goes into them is impressive:
• 4,000 hours of work during 6 months
• 20 tons of confetti
• 5,000 fresh flowers (90% of them come from the local area)
Adults: Platform 20-25€ (17-21£) /Covered area 10€ (8£)
Children: Platform 10€ (8£) / Covered area5 € (4£)
Children under 5 years old: Free