The Carnaval de Nice 2015 (Nice Carnival) is from Friday 13 February – Sunday 01 March 2015 and is one of the biggest events on the French Riviera.
Over 1 million visitors are expected in Nice, with around 600,000 spectators attending the parades making it one of the largest and most popular carnivals in the world alongside Rio and Venice.
History of the event
Traditionally, the ‘Carnaval’ consisted of masked balls and food fights in the streets of Vieux Nice until the eighteenth century.
During major military and political turmoil caused by the French Revolution and the First Napoleanic Empire, festivities were put on hold.
In 1830, the first parade was held where carriages/floats were marched past the King and Queen and set the tone for the future of the carnival.
What happens every year
Every year, a theme is chosen – 2015’s theme is ‘King of Music – and the creation of the parade floats takes months of work and uses modern technology, textiles and sculpture with floats reaching gravity-defying heights.
Here are some photos of parades from previous years :
There is also a competition each year where the ‘Reine du Carnaval’ (Carnival Queen) is chosen from 9 candidates via internet voting, and she is elected to represent the carnival.
This year there are many exciting events (and some new attractions) for Nice Carnival including a carnival run, a special lunch at the foot of the ferris wheel prepared by Nice chefs, a winter swim followed by a socca party and Lou Queernaval (the first gay parade on the French Riviera). More details of the festival programme can be found on the official carnival website www.nicecarnaval.com
I highly recommend this event if you live in the region or are visiting.
On a smaller scale, local towns and villages on the French Riviera have themed carnivals so if you can’t visit Nice then you can always attend local events. It’s a nice touch that every year, schools also have carnival celebrations for the children with mask-decorating and carnival days with fancy dress.
Where to buy tickets
Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.nicecarnaval.com and you print an e-ticket. Saves time having to collect tickets!
Or you can buy tickets at the waterfront Tourism Office (Office du Tourism et des Congrès) at 5 promenade des Anglais in Nice (there are various other ticket booths located near the parade route for pre-parade sales but as this is a popular event you will be battling lots of people and congestion pre-parade).
Adult tickets cost €35 for entrance to 2 parades (excluding Saturdays). Or individual parades cost €10 for standing, €25 for seated admission.
Children under 6 years are free of charge when standing, or if seated on a paying adult’s lap.
Kids 6-12 years – $5 for standing, €10 for seats.
Note: There is FREE ENTRANCE for all spectators for these events listed below:
Friday 13 February from 8.30pm for the opening of the Carnival
Sunday 15 February at 2.30pm parade
Friday 27 February for Lou Queernaval
01 March from 8.30pm for the Burning of the King float and fireworks at Place Massena.
Spectators are encouraged to wear fancy dress, but it is not compulsory
Information for persons with reduced mobility
There are discounted rates for persons with reduced mobility and their accompanying person.
Tickets cost €5 in area with chair on ground, or €10 for a spot in a designated wheelchair viewing area with raised level.
The designated wheelchair viewing area will be located on promenade des Anglais opposite Jardin Albert 1er.
The nearest car parking (with disabled spaces) to this designated area is on rue des Congrès.
All of these discounted rates must be booked via Nice Tourist Office, their email firstname.lastname@example.org If you speak English and need assistance reserving these tickets please email me on email@example.com and I can help you.
Parade routes will be closed 2 hours prior to each parade. Bear this in mind when arriving to the parade by car. Road congestion is busy, I recommend public transport (train/bus).
Many Nice hotels offer special ‘Carnival’ accommodation packages that include accommodation, breakfast and parade tickets. Some participating hotels are Novotel Nice Centre, Les Cigales and Windsor. View accommodation rates online at http://www.nicetourisme.com/nos-offres-thematiques (you must search ‘offres spéciales)
Happy Carnival! Here’s to the ‘King of Music!