What is Mardi gras all about? Where to celebrate the carnival in France?


If you like laughing, playing and eating good food… you should go to France in March because it is a festive period, in which everybody dresses up and has a lot of fun.


The origin of the word Mardi gras is Christian. The Mardi gras is the last day before the lent period- a time when people have to deprive themselves, and fast. So, before this hard period of the year, there is a moment for pleasures when everybody is free to eat, drink, and wear whatever he wants. This period is called Carnival and ends with the Mardi gras which is a day when everybody eats fatty food like: bugnes, crepes, fried foods and meat.  The word Carnival, “Carnaval” in French comes from the Italian “Carnelevare” which means “free of meat”.


This year the Mardi gras is on Tuesday, March 8th! Nowadays on this particular day, all children and some adults in France dress up to go to school and work. It’s also a day to cook Bugnes and crepes. The bugnes are a sort of doughnut, the recipe originates from Lyon in the Rhone Alpes region.


Each French city, town, or village has its own carnival but some of them are more famous than others:


One of the most famous carnivals in France is the Nice carnival which lasts from February 18th to March 8th. Every year this carnival has a theme, this year’s is “The King of the Mediterranean” and it also involves a flower battle. This is an interesting way to discover the diversity of flowers found on the Cote D’Azur.  The whole parade takes place along the “Promenade des Anglais “a famous avenue in Nice.


The carnival of Dunkerque in Nord Pas de Calais is also a very famous one and is one of the longest. This year it lasts from February 6th to March 13th. It is a full period of celebration, with music, songs, hymns, special costumes…  The carnival of Dunkerque is not only a sight to be seen but a huge stage where you will fast become an actor.


You also can discover the Mulhouse carnival in Alsace. This carnival takes place from March 11th to March 13th and this year’s theme is “fairy tales and legends”. For 3 days Mulhouse will offer you all sorts of sights, activities and food.


Each year Limoux in Languedoc Roussillon also organises a beautiful carnival. This year it lasts from January 30th to April 10th.  This carnival is an important tradition and is part of Limoux culture.  During the whole period you can participate in different events and enjoy a very good time in the beautiful market town of Limoux.


The Venetian Carnival of Annecy in Haute-Savoie is also a wonderful one. From March 18th to March 20th this carnival offers an amazing sight of costumes and masks. The parade takes place along the lake and in pedestrian areas.


These carnivals are only some examples of all the carnivals that take place in France each year at the same period (between January and April) but naming all the French carnivals would be impossible.


As you can see, it is a great time to go on holiday and why not plan your viewing trip to France.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 12:33 pm and is filed under Carnival, Events, Festival, Haute Savoie, Languedoc Roussillon, Lifestyle, Living in France, Mardi gras, Nice, Nord Pas de Calais, Rhone Alpes, Travel in France, Viewing trip to France . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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